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Re: [mythsoc] Quick take on Lord Dunsany?

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  • John Rateliff
    ... Wow. Thanks for the high praise, Wendell. But I think Doug Anderson shd be added to the list; he contributed a good deal to the Joshi-Schweitzer Dunsany
    Message 1 of 22 , Jun 29, 2011
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      On Jun 28, 2011, at 6:15 PM, WendellWag@... wrote:
      Dale, if anyone questions your assertion about Dunsany, you can quote the statement below by John Rateliff and say that he is one of the most important living Dunsany scholars.  I don't think there are many Dunsany scholars.  I just Googled on "Dunsany scholar" and found only two people mentioned - Darrell Schweitzer and S. T. Joshi - neither of whom did a Ph.D. dissertation on Dunsany.
       
      Wendell Wagner

      Wow. Thanks for the high praise, Wendell. But I think Doug Anderson shd be added to the list; he contributed a good deal to the Joshi-Schweitzer Dunsany Bibliography.


      On Jun 29, 2011, at 6:31 AM, davise@... wrote:
      University Microfilms lists 3 theses on Dunsany:

      xJohn Rateliff, " 'Beyond the fields we know': The short stories of
      Lord Dunsany, Marquette U., 1990.

      xRonald Gallagher, "The uses of the supernatural in the works of Lord Dunsany and James Stephens," U. Washington, 1990.

      xLinda Pashka, "Dunsany's other worlds: The prose fantasy of Lord Dunsany", U. Calgary, 1987.

      The Wikipedia article also states that Tania Scott is currently doing a dissertation on Dunsany at U. Glasgow. She has given some talks, but does not seem to have published much. 

      WorldCat lists additionally (books and theses)
      Mark Amory, "Biography of Lord Dunsany", Collins, 1972.

      Sunand Joshi, "Lord Dunsany, master of the Anglo-Irish Imagination"
      Greenwood Press, 1996.

      xMax Duperray, "Le monde imaginaire de Lord Dunsany, 1878-1957"
      thesis, U. de Lille, 1979.

      To these shd be added others listed in the "Theses and Dissertations" section of the Joshi-Schweitzer Bibliography: nine in all, including five not listed above. The most important of these is J. F. La Croix's Trinity College Dublin diss. from 1956, since he actually contacted Dunsany and got a little information directly from him (including Dunsany's opinion of Lovecraft). And in addition to Amory and Joshi shd be added Schweitzer's book (portions of which appeared long ago in MYTHLORE), the Bibliography, and Littlefield Smith's memoir. I'd include de Camp's book as well, since it includes a chapter on Ld D.

      If my dissertation has anything that makes it stand out (and I shd point out that Joshi is dismissive of it), it's that so far as I know I'm the only one to have bothered to look at Dunsany's manuscripts (at Austin, in Binghampton, in London, in Dublin, &c) and taken into account what they tell us about Dunsany's method of composition.


      On Jun 29, 2011, at 7:40 AM, dale nelson wrote:
      As an aside -- I like it when a source who interests me states what or who is the greatest or most important, etc.  Just yesterday I was browsing Sellin's study of David Lindsay.  According to Sellin, for the author of A Voyage to Arcturus Beethoven was unequivocally the greatest composer.  I'm glad to know that, not just that Beethoven was one of the great composers according to Lindsay.  I seem to remember blurb copy in which Baird Searles claimed that Dunsany was greater than Tolkien or Peake, not simply one of the great fantasists along with those two and others.  I don't agree with Searles, but I appreciate the statement because it could prompt me to think some more about Dunsany's achievement (in some moods I'm inclined to think of him as basically a very productive and inventive confectioner, sort of for high fantasy what Paul McCartney's been for popular music).  

      I agree with a fondness for critics actually expressing an opinion when they have one. Even if I disagree with it, at least I know where they stand.  As for D.'s achievement, remember that he wrote over four hundred stories and published over seventy books: he's one of those authors who wrote far too much and published almost everything he wrote. Then too his aesthetic creed prevented him from revising anything he wrote, which served him well early on but not later in his career when his inspiration flagged. The best thing anyone can do in Dunsany scholarship, I think, is to point people interested in giving him a try towards the good stuff so they don't flounder right away on the lesser works.

      And may I add what a pleasure it is to see folks discussing a good fantasy author beyond the Official Three here.

      --John R.




    • David Bratman
      ... Wow - I d consider that comparison to be seriously imperceptive of both Dunsany _and_ McCartney. But I don t want to argue the point; this is just to
      Message 2 of 22 , Jul 2, 2011
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        "dale nelson" <extollager2006@...> wrote:

        >I appreciate the statement because it could prompt me to think some more
        >about Dunsany's achievement (in some moods I'm inclined to think of him
        >as basically a very productive and inventive confectioner, sort of for high
        >fantasy what Paul McCartney's been for popular music).

        Wow - I'd consider that comparison to be seriously imperceptive of both
        Dunsany _and_ McCartney. But I don't want to argue the point; this is just
        to observe how much perceptions differ. If you want to write a polemic
        article on Dunsany's place in the fantasy canon, by all means go ahead and
        expound your views in detail. But if you just want to make an incidental
        point that Dunsany is important, declarations of his supreme greatness, or
        anything else, will only distract readers from what you're otherwise saying.
      • WendellWag@aol.com
        To back up this assertion, you might want to quote what Michael Dirda says in his new book On Conan Doyle. Dirda is generally considered one of the best
        Message 3 of 22 , Nov 8, 2011
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          To back up this assertion, you might want to quote what Michael Dirda says in his new book On Conan Doyle.  Dirda is generally considered one of the best current book critics (and, incidentally, was a guest at Mythcon 25).  Dirda says, "What Conan Doyle is to the detective story, Dunsany is to the modern fantasy: the Master."
           
          Wendell Wagner
           
          In a message dated 6/28/2011 10:43:30 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, extollager2006@... writes:
           

          Would anyone care to question this assertion, that Lord Dunsany was the greatest British writer of fantasy for adults during the period between the end of the Victorian era and the Thirties?  

          I'm deliberately not defining "greatest," although for some that may make the statement almost meaningless.

          The assertion implies that Dunsany's eight or so collections of fantasies and The King of Elfland's Daughter etc. comprise a "greater" achievement than that of E. R. Eddison, William Hope Hodgson, Hope Mirrlees, David Lindsay, and others who published major works such as The Worm Ouroboros, The Night Land, Lud-in-the-Mist, and A Voyage to Arcturus in that period.

          I'm asking because in a short piece I have drafted for Beyond Bree I make this claim, but there's probably time for me to change it if need be.  Conversely, if the statement seems right to you, I'd be happy to know that too.

          Dale Nelson

        • Mem Morman
          i think i would have to put in a word for Edith Nesbit. mem
          Message 4 of 22 , Nov 8, 2011
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            i think i would have to put in a word for Edith Nesbit.
            mem

            On 11/8/2011 3:56 AM, WendellWag@... wrote:
             

            To back up this assertion, you might want to quote what Michael Dirda says in his new book On Conan Doyle.  Dirda is generally considered one of the best current book critics (and, incidentally, was a guest at Mythcon 25).  Dirda says, "What Conan Doyle is to the detective story, Dunsany is to the modern fantasy: the Master."
             
            Wendell Wagner
             
            In a message dated 6/28/2011 10:43:30 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, extollager2006@... writes:
             

            Would anyone care to question this assertion, that Lord Dunsany was the greatest British writer of fantasy for adults during the period between the end of the Victorian era and the Thirties?  

            I'm deliberately not defining "greatest," although for some that may make the statement almost meaningless.

            The assertion implies that Dunsany's eight or so collections of fantasies and The King of Elfland's Daughter etc. comprise a "greater" achievement than that of E. R. Eddison, William Hope Hodgson, Hope Mirrlees, David Lindsay, and others who published major works such as The Worm Ouroboros, The Night Land, Lud-in-the-Mist, and A Voyage to Arcturus in that period.

            I'm asking because in a short piece I have drafted for Beyond Bree I make this claim, but there's probably time for me to change it if need be.  Conversely, if the statement seems right to you, I'd be happy to know that too.

            Dale Nelson
          • Bill West
            I am forever grateful to Lin Carter for his republishing the authors Dale listed in the original run of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series. I still have those
            Message 5 of 22 , Nov 8, 2011
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              I am forever grateful to Lin Carter for his republishing the authors Dale listed in the
              original run of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series. I still have those editions on my
              bookshelves forty years later.

              Bill

              On Tue, Nov 8, 2011 at 5:56 AM, <WendellWag@...> wrote:
               

              To back up this assertion, you might want to quote what Michael Dirda says in his new book On Conan Doyle.  Dirda is generally considered one of the best current book critics (and, incidentally, was a guest at Mythcon 25).  Dirda says, "What Conan Doyle is to the detective story, Dunsany is to the modern fantasy: the Master."
               
              Wendell Wagner
               
              In a message dated 6/28/2011 10:43:30 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, extollager2006@... writes:
               

              Would anyone care to question this assertion, that Lord Dunsany was the greatest British writer of fantasy for adults during the period between the end of the Victorian era and the Thirties?  

              I'm deliberately not defining "greatest," although for some that may make the statement almost meaningless.

              The assertion implies that Dunsany's eight or so collections of fantasies and The King of Elfland's Daughter etc. comprise a "greater" achievement than that of E. R. Eddison, William Hope Hodgson, Hope Mirrlees, David Lindsay, and others who published major works such as The Worm Ouroboros, The Night Land, Lud-in-the-Mist, and A Voyage to Arcturus in that period.

              I'm asking because in a short piece I have drafted for Beyond Bree I make this claim, but there's probably time for me to change it if need be.  Conversely, if the statement seems right to you, I'd be happy to know that too.

              Dale Nelson


            • John Rateliff
              I think the quote from Dirda sums it up in a nutshell. Dunsany was best, and the most influential, writer of fantasy in the first half of the twentieth
              Message 6 of 22 , Nov 8, 2011
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                I think the quote from Dirda sums it up in a nutshell. Dunsany was best, and the most influential, writer of fantasy in the first half of the twentieth century.* The quality and significance of his achievement gets overlooked because of his long twilight: the fact he kept writing long after he'd lost the spark. Doyle is luckier in that most overlook the eccentricities (and indeed sheer weirdness) of his final quarter-century and judge him on his earlier work.
                  --John R.

                *in English at least.




                On Nov 8, 2011, at 2:56 AM, WendellWag@... wrote:
                To back up this assertion, you might want to quote what Michael Dirda says in his new book On Conan Doyle.  Dirda is generally considered one of the best current book critics (and, incidentally, was a guest at Mythcon 25).  Dirda says, "What Conan Doyle is to the detective story, Dunsany is to the modern fantasy: the Master."
                 
                Wendell Wagner
                 
                In a message dated 6/28/2011 10:43:30 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, extollager2006@... writes:

                Would anyone care to question this assertion, that Lord Dunsany was the greatest British writer of fantasy for adults during the period between the end of the Victorian era and the Thirties?   

                I'm deliberately not defining "greatest," although for some that may make the statement almost meaningless.

                The assertion implies that Dunsany's eight or so collections of fantasies and The King of Elfland's Daughter etc. comprise a "greater" achievement than that of E. R. Eddison, William Hope Hodgson, Hope Mirrlees, David Lindsay, and others who published major works such as The Worm Ouroboros, The Night Land, Lud-in-the-Mist, and A Voyage to Arcturus in that period.

                I'm asking because in a short piece I have drafted for Beyond BreeI make this claim, but there's probably time for me to change it if need be.  Conversely, if the statement seems right to you, I'd be happy to know that too.

                Dale Nelson

              • Mem Morman
                could someone take the time to comment what a stupid, unscholastic assertion just so i know my posts are actually coming through to the list? thanks! mem
                Message 7 of 22 , Nov 8, 2011
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                  could someone take the time to comment "what a stupid, unscholastic assertion" just so i know my posts are actually coming through to the list? 
                  thanks!
                  mem


                  On 11/8/2011 6:22 AM, Mem Morman wrote:
                   

                  i think i would have to put in a word for Edith Nesbit.
                  mem

                  On 11/8/2011 3:56 AM, WendellWag@... wrote:

                   

                  To back up this assertion, you might want to quote what Michael Dirda says in his new book On Conan Doyle.  Dirda is generally considered one of the best current book critics (and, incidentally, was a guest at Mythcon 25).  Dirda says, "What Conan Doyle is to the detective story, Dunsany is to the modern fantasy: the Master."
                   
                  Wendell Wagner
                   
                  In a message dated 6/28/2011 10:43:30 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, extollager2006@... writes:
                   

                  Would anyone care to question this assertion, that Lord Dunsany was the greatest British writer of fantasy for adults during the period between the end of the Victorian era and the Thirties?  

                  I'm deliberately not defining "greatest," although for some that may make the statement almost meaningless.

                  The assertion implies that Dunsany's eight or so collections of fantasies and The King of Elfland's Daughter etc. comprise a "greater" achievement than that of E. R. Eddison, William Hope Hodgson, Hope Mirrlees, David Lindsay, and others who published major works such as The Worm Ouroboros, The Night Land, Lud-in-the-Mist, and A Voyage to Arcturus in that period.

                  I'm asking because in a short piece I have drafted for Beyond Bree I make this claim, but there's probably time for me to change it if need be.  Conversely, if the statement seems right to you, I'd be happy to know that too.

                  Dale Nelson
                • John Rateliff
                  Hi Mem. It s not stupid at all; I just happen to disagree with it. --John R.
                  Message 8 of 22 , Nov 8, 2011
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                    Hi Mem.
                        It's not stupid at all; I just happen to disagree with it.
                    --John R.


                    On Nov 8, 2011, at 10:45 AM, Mem Morman wrote:
                    could someone take the time to comment "what a stupid, unscholastic assertion" just so i know my posts are actually coming through to the list?  
                    thanks!
                    mem


                    On 11/8/2011 6:22 AM, Mem Morman wrote:

                    i think i would have to put in a word for Edith Nesbit.
                    mem


                  • Mem Morman
                    thanks! now i know my posts are coming through. mem
                    Message 9 of 22 , Nov 8, 2011
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                      thanks!  now i know my posts are coming through.
                      mem


                      On 11/8/2011 11:57 AM, John Rateliff wrote:  
                      Hi Mem.
                          It's not stupid at all; I just happen to disagree with it.
                      --John R.


                      On Nov 8, 2011, at 10:45 AM, Mem Morman wrote:
                      could someone take the time to comment "what a stupid, unscholastic assertion" just so i know my posts are actually coming through to the list?  
                      thanks!
                      mem


                      On 11/8/2011 6:22 AM, Mem Morman wrote:

                      i think i would have to put in a word for Edith Nesbit.
                      mem


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