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The Gods of Pegana

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  639 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
The Gods of Pegana, by Lord Dunsany, is an imaginative book of fantasy and one of the most important collections compiled of short stories from the early part of the 20th century. Dunsany, as the second writer to fully exploit the fantasy and adventure of imaginary lands, which include gods, witches, magic and spirits, The God of Pegana is both an important science fiction ...more
Paperback, 104 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Filiquarian Publishing, LLC. (first published 1905)
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Pedro López Before, well, everything. Before Zeus/Mars and the gods off Olympus, before Allah (God in the religion of Islam), existed nothing but the resting…moreBefore, well, everything. Before Zeus/Mars and the gods off Olympus, before Allah (God in the religion of Islam), existed nothing but the resting Mana-yood-sushai. In this story, Mana-yood-sushai is the leader, creating Gods to "play with" and falls asleep. While asleep, his playthings go on to create everything needed for existence, which will end once Mana-yood-sushai awakens and ends their play.(less)
American Gods by Neil GaimanThe Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. JemisinThe Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster BujoldLord of Light by Roger ZelaznyKushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Best Fantasy God Type books
24th out of 168 books — 81 voters
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis CarrollThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank BaumDracula by Bram StokerPeter Pan by J.M. BarrieThe King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany
Pre-Tolkien Fantasy
80th out of 221 books — 208 voters

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Community Reviews

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Bill  Kerwin
Jan 19, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it liked it

A short but ambitious book that attempts to create an entire mythology. Its style, rooted in the fin de siècle', and filled with faux archaism, is charmingly quaint, and its metaphors evoke meditations upon the nature of time and death, dream and creation.

This was a favorite book of H.P. Lovecraft, and it is easy to see Dunsany's influence in the names and histories of his gods.
Nandakishore Varma
Nov 01, 2016 Nandakishore Varma rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The Gods of Pegana is an invented pantheon. This slim book by Lord Dunsany has been tremendously influential, having inspired illustrious personages such as H.P.Lovecraft and J.R.R.Tolkien. And the original illustrations by Sidney Sime are classics by themselves.

I have been wanting to read this book for a long time, but the actual reading left me a wee bit disappointed; as this is not a story, rather an idea for one. Dunsany has done a tremendous job of world-building. The Gods are all imagined
Dec 04, 2013 Evgeny rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Arguably the first book that can be qualified as a fantasy book (not fairy tales). The author influenced a lot of fantasy writers, so if you do not like something in the modern fantasy he is the guy to blame - and the other way around: he is the person to praise for the state of genre. The most direct influence of this book can be seen in The Silmarillion, especially in the part of world creation.

So, the plot is fairly simple. A supergod (for the lack of better term) created gods and went to sle
Apr 22, 2015 Milena rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, short-story

Om nom nom. I ate this one up - the language is gorgeous and controlled, the myths archetypally resonant yet fresh and original... yummy fantasy tales.

My favorite tale is the myth of the Trogool:


Also, Sidney Sime's pictures are gorgeous; get a version with his art (or at least look it up online).
Apr 12, 2016 Markus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2016
An excellent merge of fantasy and mythology from the man who wrote The King of Elfland's Daughter, Gods of Pegana is a very short and thoroughly enjoyable piece of fantasy fiction from the early days of the modern genre.

It's easy to see this book as the predecessor to The Silmarillion, and in many ways Lord Dunsany is the one author prior to Tolkien that's the most similar to him in style. And that, of course, also makes Dunsany the best of the early fantasy writers in my eyes.

The tales of the c
Jul 11, 2012 Pallavi rated it liked it

Clearly, this was sort of an inspiration for 'The Silmarillion'. Do not look for a story because there is none ( except if the slumber and awakening of Mana-Yood-Sushai is considered one). Instead look at the brilliant word-play, the ease with which worldly concepts are described and the scope of the world created and it will amaze you. The Gods of Pegana have a voice, unlike the gods in 'The Silmarillion' and they can be unforgiving, unwavering and at times cruel.
They are the heroes of the b
Kevin J.J. Carpenter
Jul 04, 2015 Kevin J.J. Carpenter rated it it was amazing
Professor Tolkien is often cited as "The Grandfather of Fantasy", and his overwhelming assimilation within the literature world at large—as well as popular culture—has created this omniscient belief among most that Fantasy all began with Middle-earth. I must admit, for the longest time, I believed Professor Tolkien laid claim to this title, and even once I uncovered the joy of Lovecraft, it wasn't until the peculiar name of Lord Dunsany caught my eye that I actually became aware of this fallacy ...more
May 05, 2013 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not for everyone, but definitely for me. This isn't so much a collection of short stories as a collection of vignettes and prose poems that, taken together, create a kind of artificial mythology -- kind of a precursor to The Silmarillion but without as much narrative linkage and structure. But the episodes are told in a kind of rich King James Bible-influenced prose that I find almost impossible to resist. Not a recommended jumping-on point for Dunsany -- if you're new to his work, I think you'd ...more
Eigentlich ein Unding(!!!), dass es dieser Klassiker der Phantastik — immerhin, soweit ich weiß, das erste Werk, für das sich ein Autor eine eigene Götterschar & Welt ausgedacht hat, einfach nur, um damit zu narrativ zu spielen — seit über hundert Jahren immer noch nicht komplett auf Deutsch vorliegt.

Dunsanys Pegana war sowohl Inspiration für Tolkiens Mittelerde als auch für Lovecrafts Traumlande. Muss man erst mal schaffen, auf zwei so unterschiedliche Zweige der Phantastik entscheidenden E
Stephen Brooke
Dec 29, 2012 Stephen Brooke rated it it was amazing
The quite short stories that make up ‘The Gods of Pegana’ border on being prose poems. If one expects action and plots, one will be largely disappointed. If one reads for the beauty of the language, for the images and ideas, one may just fall in love with the book.

I did, many years ago. The romance has not ended with the latest read. These short, witty, and often insightful tales are as delightful as when I first discovered them.

The little stories and the world they create were Dunsany’s first
Jul 11, 2014 Scott rated it liked it
Shelves: classic-fantasy
A short-story collection with a unified theme: the pantheon of the world of Pegana. The style is reminiscent to that of the King James Bible (one of Dunsany's influences), and also similar to JRR Tolkien's Silmarillion (which was likely influenced by this book). Recommended if you enjoy reading that kind of thing.

One of the finest examples, to my knowledge, of mythopoeia (invented mythology) for its own sake, The Gods of Pegana features a lofty and mystical style befitting its subject matter. Th
Oct 01, 2016 Kristian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En “Los Dioses de Pegana” la desbordada imaginación del Barón de Dunsany nos hace testigos del génesis del mundo del mismo nombre, el cual desentraña a través de la descripción poética de los diferentes dioses que conforman el panteón y de sus diferentes dominios, ya sean el tiempo (Sish), el destino (Dorozhand) o la muerte (Mung), los dioses de Pegana son la imagen vivida de cualquier dios pagano de nuestro mundo.
Es interesante notar la gran influencia que Lord Dunsany ejerció sobre escritores
Joshum Harpy
Dec 03, 2013 Joshum Harpy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A seminal work in fantasy, this book exerted an influence on a slew of legendary 20th century fantasy and horror writers including H.P. Lovecraft, Ursula K. Leguin and J.R.R. Tolkien. That, in and of itself, is pretty unfuckwithable, but what drew me to this was my obsession with the illustrations of Sidney Sime. Contemporary with Harry Clarke, Aubrey Beardsley, and Arthur Rackham; Sidney Sime took a delicate blend of the popular gothic, fairy tale aesthetic and gave it a brilliantly executed ...more
A short little work of created mythology. The prose in this book is written in an antiquated style which I found perfect. The imagery leaves you filled with a sense of wonder and otherness. This book is not big on plot or characters. Lots of things do happen and there are many characters but the author does not take much time to focus on individuals or events. It reads much like mythology in the sense of being a fantastic history of a place that never was.

This is a book that one reads for the pr
Luke Sineath
Oct 01, 2014 Luke Sineath rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 1900s
I read this book in a stripped-down Kindle edition, so much of the charm from illustrations was lost. As a text, this book is not very exciting nor interesting, save as a study in the development of the Fantasy genre. I didn't feel that I got anything significant out of it. Lacking in narrative, The Gods of Pegana is more a loose collection of fables and writings about a fictional pantheon.
Perfect Musical Pairing: The River Sings by Enya

I read this book for two reasons:
1) Lord Dunsany is listed as one of the major influences of both Tolkien and Lovecraft, and being a fan of both, I feel obligated to read the literary reason that both of those authors' writings exist in the first place.
2) I felt that this would be a good sampler of Dunsany's works just to get a feel for his style before eventually jumping into The King of Elfland's Daughter.

Overall, I rather liked this. The prose i
Greg Meyer
Nov 30, 2016 Greg Meyer rated it really liked it
Lovecraft's Elder Gods, but less eldritch horror, more fae inscrutability. I like it.
Ventsi Dimitrov
May 02, 2016 Ventsi Dimitrov rated it really liked it
This review is also available on the blog Codices, where I'm a contributor.

Also, this review is for this edition of "The Gods of Pegana", which is not yet listed on Goodreads.

The old school classics front has seen a new addition recently with the republication of one of the forefathers of fantasy’s best-known work. Of course, I’m talking about Lord Dunsany and his fictional pantheon “The Gods of Pegana”. American Eldritch is a new small press with a satisfaction towards the classics. That’s why
Oct 19, 2014 Curtis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dunsany completists
Shelves: fantasy, mythgard
While there are some humorous moments — such the chapter "Of how Imbaun Spake of Death to the King" ending with Imbaun being led away, "And there arose prophets in Aradec who spake not of death to Kings" (indeed, the procession of prophets who die itself is kind of funny) — they are not enough to offset the tediousness of the mock-serious scriptural tone that Dunsany adopts throughout the book. While I generally like irony and subtle humor, I could not shake the feeling the each chapter is a ...more
May 09, 2015 Kerry rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Tribes, societies, and civilizations have been trying to explain the unexplainable for millennia, and Dunsany independently comes up with his own answers, creating and destroying gods like MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI himself.

Lord Dunsany's imagination and ability to mimic oral myth-preserving tradition is to be admired. The old-fashioned language, which can sometimes seem heavy-handed, nevertheless serves to keep the reader appreciating Dunsany's motifs: he is referring to surviving epics, myths, or other
Nov 17, 2014 Erick rated it liked it
Mercifully short.

At first, this book inspires the imagination. After about the half way point, however, its novelty wears thin and it becomes a chore to get done.

I kept imagining the book I would rather be reading. Mythologies are better presented through their mortal believers as they try to reconcile the myth with reality. This book should have remained in the author's notes, and a fiction where these myths play a major role would have been a better story for the public. As it is, the effect
Nicholas Whyte
Sep 01, 2013 Nicholas Whyte rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, 2013, 1308[return][return]This is another book available online, complete with illustrations by S.H. Sime. It is quite a remarkable achievement, a short collection of fantasy vignettes illustrating a new pantheon, led by the always-capitalised creator god MNA-YOOD-SUSH*, who has fallen asleep and must not be woken (which may sound familiar); the people of Pegna, and their prophets, have a very uneasy relationship with the various deities.[return][return]Both J.R.R ...more
Jason Mills
Feb 01, 2013 Jason Mills rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Any fantasy buff
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
This short book is a sequence of made-up myths (as I suppose all myths are!) about gods and their prophets. Written in Dunsany's elegant prose, the tales are intriguing little thought-provokers. (Calvino's Invisible Cities came to mind as a comparison.) They avoid saying anything very definite or polemical - Dunsany's stuff often has a feel of a gentleman's parlour game, a poetic affectation - but the yarns are lyrical and melancholy, even fatalistic. Here a prophet craves death:
And every day an
Thiago Cavalcanti
Indeed I am amongst the gods, who speak to me as they speak to other gods, yet is there always a smile about Their mouths, and a look in Their eyes that saith: "Thou wert a man."

I read this book in the wikisource ( and it was a quite pleasant reading.

There is actually no plot and the book is organized as a series of creation mythos and short stories regarding a fictional pantheon. The book is written in archaic English and evokes a religious
David Jason Wright
Oct 09, 2012 David Jason Wright rated it really liked it
The Gods of Pegana was a light, easy read - more a collection of vignettes than a proper tale; each chapter, nevertheless comes together to tell the story of Pegana and All the Worlds. Lord Dunsany's command of the written world is, at times, amazing. There are passages within this short tale which felt as though they were painted into my mind's eye - no small feat considering the lack of detail necessitated by the scope of the work.

I couldn't help thinking - as I read - what a fun Pantheon this
Zachary Harper
Feb 08, 2011 Zachary Harper rated it it was amazing
It is incredible to me how I have lived this long without hearing this man's name. Lord Dunsany had that rare ability to create an entire world, and have it be as vivid and striking to the soul as our own. Its gods reflect our God, its people reflect our people; and where we lack, they fill; and where we shine, they are but shadows. It is a complement to our own reality, it fills in the vast void of our imagination. The creation of a pantheon that can define and explore the intricacies of God ...more
Steve Scott
May 24, 2013 Steve Scott rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I read this because it influenced some writers that I like. J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft both took inspiration from this slim little book.

Dunsany managed to create an interesting mythology with an Asian feel to it. It has logical fallacies, circularity, all of the poetic silliness of an ancient religion. At times I wondered if he was being satirical, poking fun at religion. At other times I got the sense that he was taking the work seriously.

I got the book for free from Fe
Andrew James Jiao
May 12, 2013 Andrew James Jiao rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
At first I thought this would be a hard read since it was written more than a hundred years ago, but I am glad I was mistaken. This book is a collection of short stories or more appropriately, "tales". I have read Tolkien's Silmarillion and I found The Gods of Pegana similar, although it was written much earlier, much shorter, and written much simpler. There are few characters (with difficult names), and for every story which is about two or three pages, the focus is just on one or two. The ...more
Dec 08, 2014 Gileblit rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inglés
Posiblemente el libro más espectacular de Lord Dunsany. Gods of Pegana podría ser el libro de mitos de una civilización perdida, un conjunto de historias que proponen una cosmogonía nueva, en la que el mundo es solo un juego de los traviesos dioses de Pegana, que son a su vez creaciones de otro dios. Una invitación a la posibilidad de otra forma de ver el mundo.

Las historias aquí contenidas (en la versión inglesa) están escritas en un inglés antiguo con gran uso de partículas como "thee" o "thou
Dec 19, 2012 Mel rated it it was amazing
So I decided I wanted a nice old spooky book to bring with me for reading in Lyme Regis. I decided to go back and re-read this Dunsany book. The copy I have is just gorgeous. 3rd edition, with really simple boards, lovely thick paper and illustrations by Sydney Sime. It just adds to the atmosphere of the book so much. I love the stories here, it talks of the creation of the gods, and then how the gods made man, how there were prophets and priests and eventually the sleeping creator wakes up and ...more
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Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany was an Anglo-Irish writer and dramatist, notable for his work in fantasy published under the name Lord Dunsany. More than eighty books of his work were published, and his oeuvre includes hundreds of short stories, as well as successful plays, novels and essays. Born to one of the oldest titles in the Irish peerage, he lived much of his life ...more
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“And Jabim is the Lord of broken things, who sitteth behind the house to lament the things that are cast away. And there he sitteth lamenting the broken things until the worlds be ended, or until someone cometh to mend the broken things. Or sometimes he sitteth by the river's edge to lament the forgotten things that drift upon it.

A kindly god is Jabim, whose heart is sore if anything be lost.”
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