Lord Dunsany – Dreaming New Gods
“And little he knew of the things that ink may do, how it can mark a dead man’s thought for the wonder of later years, and tell of happening that are gone clean away, and be a voice for us out of the dark of time..” – Lord Dunsany
This post concludes a series based on the four masters of the weird nominated by HP Lovecraft in his essay Supernatural horror in literature. Dunsany is, I’d argue, the least horrific of his four contemporary masters. Dunsany’s works were influential on the next generation of fantasistist, like J.R.R Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, but I don’t think they feed as directly into modern horror as the works of Machen, James or Blackwood. Lovecraft claims they were highly influential on his dream stories. They may be influential, at one remove, on later Mythos authors like Brian Lumley.
His works, although rarely terrifying, are however, lyrical and beautiful, and I’d encourage you to sample The Book of Wonders, if you are a fantasy reader. The Library Service has a couple of his books: the remakable Gods of Pegana, for example. It is where his mythos-building began, and you can see its influence on the Cthulhu Mythos and the Valar. Project Gutenberg has a very full stock of his work, in a variety of digital formats, as does Internet Archive. For those tempted to skip his plays, can I just recommend trying a one-acter called Two Bottles of Relish? Librivox has 17 titles of Dunsany’s, although some of the recordings are very early in the project, and so don’t meet the higher technical standards achived later.