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Gods, Men and Ghosts: The Best Supernatural Fiction of Lord Dunsany

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Irish writer Edward J. M. D. Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany, ranks among the twentieth century's great masters of supernatural and science fiction. An outstanding dramatist whose supernatural plays anticipated the theater of the absurd, Dunsany was also a virtuoso writer of short stories and essays. This selection presents the finest of his works, gathered from long-out-o Irish writer Edward J. M. D. Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany, ranks among the twentieth century's great masters of supernatural and science fiction. An outstanding dramatist whose supernatural plays anticipated the theater of the absurd, Dunsany was also a virtuoso writer of short stories and essays. This selection presents the finest of his works, gathered from long-out-of-print sources. Contents include the famous "Three Sailors' Gambit," possibly the best chess story ever written; the remarkable trilogy about Nuth and the Gnoles, Thangobrind the Jeweller, and the Gibbelins; exploits of the Gods, including both "The Gods of Pengana" and adventures from other books; and favorite adventures of Jorkens, prince of liars. Dunsany's spellbinding tales are complemented by the remarkable visions of Sidney H. Sime, whose delicate illustrations form an indispensable complement to the stories.


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Irish writer Edward J. M. D. Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany, ranks among the twentieth century's great masters of supernatural and science fiction. An outstanding dramatist whose supernatural plays anticipated the theater of the absurd, Dunsany was also a virtuoso writer of short stories and essays. This selection presents the finest of his works, gathered from long-out-o Irish writer Edward J. M. D. Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany, ranks among the twentieth century's great masters of supernatural and science fiction. An outstanding dramatist whose supernatural plays anticipated the theater of the absurd, Dunsany was also a virtuoso writer of short stories and essays. This selection presents the finest of his works, gathered from long-out-of-print sources. Contents include the famous "Three Sailors' Gambit," possibly the best chess story ever written; the remarkable trilogy about Nuth and the Gnoles, Thangobrind the Jeweller, and the Gibbelins; exploits of the Gods, including both "The Gods of Pengana" and adventures from other books; and favorite adventures of Jorkens, prince of liars. Dunsany's spellbinding tales are complemented by the remarkable visions of Sidney H. Sime, whose delicate illustrations form an indispensable complement to the stories.

30 review for Gods, Men and Ghosts: The Best Supernatural Fiction of Lord Dunsany

  1. 4 out of 5

    Arpad Okay

    I had this book in my home as a child, but I had to read some other stuff first to truly appreciate it. HP Lovecraft's Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, Jack Vance's Eyes of the Overworld, I reread The Hobbit as an adult and fell in love again, and then I understood a predecessor to them all, Lord Dunsany. High fantasy masquerading as a penny dreadful, a self-referential proto-Vance with the wit and narrative speed of PG Wodehouse. Not flowery, not sparse, always just right. The subject matter rang I had this book in my home as a child, but I had to read some other stuff first to truly appreciate it. HP Lovecraft's Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, Jack Vance's Eyes of the Overworld, I reread The Hobbit as an adult and fell in love again, and then I understood a predecessor to them all, Lord Dunsany. High fantasy masquerading as a penny dreadful, a self-referential proto-Vance with the wit and narrative speed of PG Wodehouse. Not flowery, not sparse, always just right. The subject matter ranges from burglars vs. gnoles to the dangers of keeping too many idols to barbarian adventure in the vein of Howard to the Romantic epic- but the knight fights with a sword fashioned from the dragon itself, sharpened with one eye and the other set in the hilt to watch out for the bearer. Lord Dunsany is an author's author, which is to say old and mostly forgotten.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Il lettore sul trespolo

    Forse non ero pronto, ma è stato abbastanza pesante. Un'importante informazione: la maggioranza degli scritti non sono fantastici, sono fantasy, che è un'altra cosa. Ci sono comunque dei bei racconti come "Il Bureau d'Echange de Maux" o " I fantasmi" che sembrano davvero usciti fuori dalla penna di un Gautier o Maupassant, ma il resto è un territorio ancora inesplorato per me (e a cui sinceramente, ora come ora, non mi voglio avvicinare). Probabilmente chi ha letto anche solo un racconto di quest'a Forse non ero pronto, ma è stato abbastanza pesante. Un'importante informazione: la maggioranza degli scritti non sono fantastici, sono fantasy, che è un'altra cosa. Ci sono comunque dei bei racconti come "Il Bureau d'Echange de Maux" o " I fantasmi" che sembrano davvero usciti fuori dalla penna di un Gautier o Maupassant, ma il resto è un territorio ancora inesplorato per me (e a cui sinceramente, ora come ora, non mi voglio avvicinare). Probabilmente chi ha letto anche solo un racconto di quest'autore sapeva già a cosa si andava incontro con questa antologia ma io, che l'ho sentito citato in qualsiasi antologia fantastica, non mi aspettavo una tale sorpresa che, a lungo andare (i racconti sono tanti!), mi è stata sgradita.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jed Mayer

    As Michael Dirda once wrote, "What I wouldn’t give to be 14 years old again, on Christmas break from school, and reading, for the first time, GODS, MEN AND GHOSTS, Bleiler’s selection from Lord Dunsany’s gorgeously written and clever fantasies." This is a lovingly curated, endlessly fascinating little collection of the master fantasist's works, covering the range of his talents, from adventure to Gothic, fairy tale to myth: an absolutely perfect book. As Michael Dirda once wrote, "What I wouldn’t give to be 14 years old again, on Christmas break from school, and reading, for the first time, GODS, MEN AND GHOSTS, Bleiler’s selection from Lord Dunsany’s gorgeously written and clever fantasies." This is a lovingly curated, endlessly fascinating little collection of the master fantasist's works, covering the range of his talents, from adventure to Gothic, fairy tale to myth: an absolutely perfect book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David Haendler

    I found this collection unbalanced but still rather delightful. Many of Dunsany's short fantasy pieces suffer from the short story format itself. His enormous affection for bestowing fanciful names upon men, monsters, and places means that the stories don't have the universality of classic fairy tales, but due to their short length they also can't luxuriate in Tolkien-esque world-building. The high points of the collection are well worth these annoyances, though. The 'Jorkens' series, its title I found this collection unbalanced but still rather delightful. Many of Dunsany's short fantasy pieces suffer from the short story format itself. His enormous affection for bestowing fanciful names upon men, monsters, and places means that the stories don't have the universality of classic fairy tales, but due to their short length they also can't luxuriate in Tolkien-esque world-building. The high points of the collection are well worth these annoyances, though. The 'Jorkens' series, its title character a 19th century English club bore full of stories about stumbling through encounters with the occult, is a pleasure. Dunsany's god cycle is properly mythic, with 'Concerning Sith - The Destroyer of Hours' being a particular favorite of mine.

  5. 4 out of 5

    David Del Col

    This is a wonderful collection of fantasitc and supernatural stories from the 18th irish baron Edward Plunkett aka "Lord Dunsany". He may be forgotten today( not quite). He influenced writers like H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Rober E. Howard. This compilation consists of his Heroic Fantasy, Weird, Supernatural horror and dreamland stories and are a fun re-read and appreciation of the authors I enjoy reading today. Illustrated by Sidney Sime's orginal plates and reproduced for this publ This is a wonderful collection of fantasitc and supernatural stories from the 18th irish baron Edward Plunkett aka "Lord Dunsany". He may be forgotten today( not quite). He influenced writers like H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Rober E. Howard. This compilation consists of his Heroic Fantasy, Weird, Supernatural horror and dreamland stories and are a fun re-read and appreciation of the authors I enjoy reading today. Illustrated by Sidney Sime's orginal plates and reproduced for this publication Edited E.F Bleiler, Dover

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Plaisance

    While the haunting illustrations by Sime would alone give this volume a five star rating, the selection of Dunsany stories contained therein doubles that merit. This book is composed of a broad cross section of Dunsany's works, with each period being represented by several tales. This is perfect for an introduction to a man whose work spans everything from weird fiction, mythopoeia, and adventure. While the haunting illustrations by Sime would alone give this volume a five star rating, the selection of Dunsany stories contained therein doubles that merit. This book is composed of a broad cross section of Dunsany's works, with each period being represented by several tales. This is perfect for an introduction to a man whose work spans everything from weird fiction, mythopoeia, and adventure.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Almachius

    I loved this, am gutted that it's finished and am very reluctant to give it back to the generous friend who sent it my way. I suppose The L.D. means I've got the loan a little longer. Anyway, these are short stories, mostly fantastical adventure stories inspired in great part by the author's travels and his evident interest in religion and mysticism. It's not all five star stuff, but the bulk of it is great, often hilarious; several pieces are really top notch. There are one or two shorts that w I loved this, am gutted that it's finished and am very reluctant to give it back to the generous friend who sent it my way. I suppose The L.D. means I've got the loan a little longer. Anyway, these are short stories, mostly fantastical adventure stories inspired in great part by the author's travels and his evident interest in religion and mysticism. It's not all five star stuff, but the bulk of it is great, often hilarious; several pieces are really top notch. There are one or two shorts that were a bit tricky to get through though - even a bit boring at times. I found some parts of the Gods section a little more tiresome than the rest. I don't know which story was my favourite, but there's one about a pirate who sails his ship into the Sahara desert which I can't imagine every forgetting; much of it reminded me of Italo Calvino. The Jorkins collection is hilarious; are there others? I need to seek out more Lord Dunsany. I'm amazed he isn't better known. I'd never heard of him before. Have you? Makes one wonder what other gems are lying around in friends' houses.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Octavio Villalpando

    Es asombroso como, después de tantos años de haber sido creadas, las historias de Lord Dunsany siguen tan vivas y sorprendentes como en su nacimiento. Este libro es una recopilación de sus mejores historias dividida en cuatro ejes temáticos; hombres, héroes y maravillas, Jorkens y dioses, así que abarca varios ejemplos de su obra. De este modo es muy fácil analizarlas temáticamente, ya que en algunas de ellas es más evidente su gran imaginación que en otras, rozando altas cotas dentro de lo fant Es asombroso como, después de tantos años de haber sido creadas, las historias de Lord Dunsany siguen tan vivas y sorprendentes como en su nacimiento. Este libro es una recopilación de sus mejores historias dividida en cuatro ejes temáticos; hombres, héroes y maravillas, Jorkens y dioses, así que abarca varios ejemplos de su obra. De este modo es muy fácil analizarlas temáticamente, ya que en algunas de ellas es más evidente su gran imaginación que en otras, rozando altas cotas dentro de lo fantástico y que fácilmente se pueden ligar a Lovecraft, su alumno más avanzado. Otro punto a considerar es el excelente dominio narrativo que tenía, patente en historias como "Una historia de tierra y mar", que es uno de los relatos más emocionantes que he leído en mi vida y donde las cualidades narrativas de Dunsany están en un punto máximo. Como fan de Lovecraft, desde luego que uno de los motivos por los cuales lo leí fue para tratar de encontrar esos relatos que tanto influenciaron al genio de Providence, y no he salido decepcionado. Desde menciones a las "Montañas de la locura", paseos por esos reinos oníricos de los que Lovecraft se apropió, antecedentes de la nomenclatura empleada posteriormente por los adeptos del Círculo Lovecraftiano, etcétera. Desde luego que no se puede decir que exista en el libro algún trazo de "horror cósmico", sin embargo este está muy patente, sobre todo en los relatos de la última sección. ¡Imperdible!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Williams

    Anyone who is a fan of modern fantasy, or even of not-so-modern fantasy, would do well to look into reading some of Lord Dunsany's work. I have seen him compared to Terry Pratchett, and while he doesn't go in for quite the same sort of obvious humor that Pratchett does, I think it's a fair comparison. I am reminded, too, of some of Fritz Leiber's work, particularly with stories like "The Sword of Welleran", or "Chu-bu and Sheemish". Read it. Anyone who is a fan of modern fantasy, or even of not-so-modern fantasy, would do well to look into reading some of Lord Dunsany's work. I have seen him compared to Terry Pratchett, and while he doesn't go in for quite the same sort of obvious humor that Pratchett does, I think it's a fair comparison. I am reminded, too, of some of Fritz Leiber's work, particularly with stories like "The Sword of Welleran", or "Chu-bu and Sheemish". Read it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    David

    Brilliant stories of fantasy and the supernatural. I suspect Philip Pullman got the idea of his characters having souls in the shapes of animals that follow them about, in his Dark Materials novels, from the story The Ghosts in this collection. Dunsany was one of the great masters of the form.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Danny Rath

    The short stories are bizarre and well done but the turn of the century style of writing is a little hard to overcome. The gods section was less than what I expected.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    The Jorkens stories and those from the books of wonder were the best. I was let down by the final section of stories about the gods.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Hall

  14. 4 out of 5

    Vincent Andrew

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  16. 5 out of 5

    Harry Purcell

  17. 4 out of 5

    T -

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  19. 5 out of 5

    Janavi Ravindra

  20. 5 out of 5

    William

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joel

  22. 5 out of 5

    ExAstra

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alfred Lord

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Yturralde ii

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  26. 5 out of 5

    James

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  28. 5 out of 5

    John

  29. 4 out of 5

    Conal

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael

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