The Book of Wonder
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The Book of Wonder

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  273 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Most fantasy enthusiasts consider Lord Dunsany one of the most significant forces in modern fantasy; his influences have been observed in the works of H.P. Lovecraft, L. Sprague de Camp, Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance & many other modern writers. The Book of Wonder is Dunsany at his peak. The stories here are a lush tapestry of language, conjuring images of people, places &...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1912)
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Terry
Geek that I am I actually read this to prepare for the Tolkien Professor’s Faerie & Fantasy podcast seminar that covers the book. I am rather conflicted about Dunsany in general and this book in particular. After finishing the first half I found that _The Book of Wonder_ more or less confirmed for me my initial impressions of Dunsany gathered when I first read _The Hashish Man and Other Stories_ many years ago. Namely that while Dunsany is an excellent prose stylist and creator of many arre...more
Jesse
This is the thrid book I've read by Lord Dunsany, and he has quickly moved into my top five best authors list. This book is similar to "Time and the Gods", in that it's more of a collection of shorts than a novel. Everyone of them was awesome, I particularly liked the stories that involved men who got a glimpse of the fantastical realms that Dunsany created and then decided to leave the world we know. Also, there were several stories that did not have happy endings, which I really enjoyed.

Dunsan...more
Peterh
Lord Dunsany succeeds at the project implied by the book's title; I found myself going through the stories with a sense of awed curiosity. But in almost every single instance, the stories were over too quickly. They had beautiful descriptions of fantastic worlds, then they ended before any time could be spent of characters or even plot.

A striking example is the third story, "The House of the Sphinx," in which a nameless narrator goes to see the Sphinx. He finds out that some sort of evil creatur...more
Greyor
thus far I really enjoy it.
Dunsany had an extreme influence on H.P. Lovecraft, another of my favourite authors, and it's evident in just this small tome of stories -- only a few of which I've read so far. so yes, brilliant.

Lovecraft once said: "There are my Dunsany stories, and there are my Poe stories -- alas, where are my Lovecraft stories?"

Read it, especially if you like Lovecraft.
Chris
I picked this up because I heard that Dunsany was the father of the fantasy genre. Before reading this I thought of many fantasies which predate Dunsany's work... even Collidi's Pinocchio was published when Dunsany was only five years old. I wondered what was so original with this author that he could be considered the father of a new genre when clearly the general fantasy concept had already been exploited frequently and definitely recently.

Once I started reading though, all became clear. The s...more
Adrian Faulkner
I'd been recommended to read Dunsany as an example of early fantasy, and so I was quite interested to get into this book. My problem is that I don't think I posses the critical faculty to judge it by context, instead reading with a twenty-first century eye.
As a result I had issues, possibly issues that are a little unfair. There were some fantastic ideas in the book. On an imaginative level, I loved the centaurs, the Dragon in "Miss Cubbidge & The Dragon Of Romance" (which read as an early u...more
Mayra Correa e Castro
Um detalhe delicioso no livro revela a paixão que sua editora tem pelo ofício: na tipografia escolhida, a letra Q, maiúscula, tem a “perninha” se alongando por debaixo das duas letras que a seguem. Teria que fotografar para você entender a graciosidade desta fonte, que faz com que, páginas após páginas, vejamos uma diminuta espada cindindo as linhas. Numa obra onde a tônica é o inusitado, esse Q acrescenta um charme metalinguístico.

A editora Arte & Letra, de Curitiba/PR, que também funciona...more
Alex
Woah, this is like, Vogon poetry bad.
How nimbly he threaded his way through the pits of Snood!—now like a botanist, scrutinising the ground; now like a dancer, leaping from crumbling edges. It was quite dark when he went by the towers of Tor, where archers shoot ivory arrows at strangers lest any foreigner should alter their laws, which are bad, but not to be altered by mere aliens. At night they shoot by the sound of the strangers' feet. O, Thangobrind, Thangobrind, was ever a jeweller like you
...more
Larry Kollar
Mar 16, 2012 Larry Kollar rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All fantasy lovers, especially those looking for early infuences
I was hooked at the Preface: "Come with me... for there are new worlds here." Indeed.

Lord Dunsany would have been a delightful #FridayFlash contributor, judging from these stories. Many of them take place at the Edge of the World (and beyond), some in London... and some combine and contrast the mundane with the fantastic. The influence on more famous fantasy writers who came after, and even good old Dungeons and Dragons, is easy to see.

The prose gets purple in spots; but compared to some other...more
Psychophant
Lord Dunsany presents a series of tales, with varying degrees of wonder, from small intrusions on the Victorian world to full fledged fantasy. There is a feeling of haphazardness, of a half built world, of ideas and names reused. Some are moral fables, some are funny, a few just want to tickle our imagination.

Dunsany was the biggest single influence on most of the Fantasy writers in English in the first half of the century, and indirectly most of the rest. His love of baroque and colourful langu...more
Timothy Ferguson
A good book

You need to be patient with this one: it's like Lovecraft in that the author has never met an adjective he can't fit in somewhere. The stories are good, but deliberately don't have satisfactory narrative forms, which makes them more like the abrupt folktales sometimes found in oral collections.

The Librivox read is lingering and monotonous. During the first story I wanted the reader to do more with his voice, but from the second onward, it had an odd effect on me, like a person chanti...more
Melanti
From what I've read, the illustrations in this book were actually created first, then the stories written around them.

I didn't like this one as much as Fifty-One Tales, but it was still quite good. It was less of the weird fiction and more straight fantasy - though even with the most fantastical stories, there was still the hint of weirdness in them.

I only wish that the version I've found (off MobileRead.com) had better resolution on the graphics. It was so small and grainy, it was difficult to...more
Nicole
This book was a wonderful surprise. I had no idea what I was getting into when I read it. It's somewhere between fairy tale and modern fantasy, but it doesn't really fit either of those groups when it comes down to it. The stories are all fairly short, much like a fairy tale collection, buy they are miles away from what we know as fairy tales. Dunsany has a great style that's fairly unique, and some of his turns of phrase had me stopping to read lines over and over again just to roll the words a...more
Klytia
In questo libro Dunsany si esprime al massimo del suo talento. I racconti sono un sontuoso arazzo di parole che evocano immagini di luoghi, persone e cose che non potrebbero altrimenti esistere ma che qui diventano reali. Troverete, centauri, sfingi, grandi ladri, pirati pronti a ritirarsi, re che cercano di portare alle lacrime regine prive di emozioni, una finestra magica, idoli e divinità. “Il libro delle meraviglie” è un volume indispensabile per qualunque collezione fantasy.
Lindsay
On the fence about this one. Definitely not for kiddos. There is dark humor (which is not necessarily terrible, it just wasn't what I was expecting) and horror. And to the latter, I have now read that this was a book that inspired Lovecraft...so I guess that's not that surprising.
But it definitely wasn't what I was expecting and though I would say it was fascinating (meriting probably more of 2.5 stars) it is not my style of fantasy.
Andrew
Some of the short stories in this book were mildly interesting, but most were just drawn out with an "Oh. That's it?" moment at the end. Perhaps I would have been enthralled with it, had I lived 100 years ago and read this as a brand new publication. The antiquated writing made it slightly difficult to parse, and I'm sure my exposure to all the great fantasy of the past 100 years left me feeling this was just boring.
Janelle
An Irish lord, in the style of the King James Bible, wrote short stories that were a deep influence on Lovecraft, Tolkien, and Le Guin - this was 1920 or thereabouts, when there was very little fantasy tradition. The tales are short, barely sketched in, yet atmospheric at the same time. All doomed cities and terrible fates awaiting foolhardy thieves, and some fantastic bits that take place at the edge of the (flat) world.
Erik Graff
May 26, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dunsany fans
Recommended to Erik by: Janny Marie Willis
Shelves: literature
This is one of the books Janny brought to NYC when she moved in with me to study at Barnard College. Being intent on reading what she had read, having liked Tolkien as a child and having heard often of Lord Dunsany, I picked this up. Unfortunately, I was disappointed, Dunsany's style of fantasy--in this collection at least--not touching me at all.
Evan Hays
One of the more unique books I have ever read. I know that he was an influence on the inklings, so I gave this one a read. It is a series of short fantasy tales about a little bit of everything written in an erudite and eccentric style. I would recommend it for a quick and fun read if you are a true fantasy fan.
Marts  (Thinker)
For the classic fantasy enthusiasts...

...as noted in the preface...“Come with me, ladies and gentlemen who are in any wise weary of London: come with me: and those that tire at all of the world we know: for we have new worlds here.”...
Pperkins
I listened to this from Librivox... with a mesmerizing reader, who was perhaps a little over-dramatic, but I thought his reading style fit the book well. To be read these strange tales at night, in bed, was a delight. It felt like Scheherazade was weaving tales for me.
☯Bettie☯


CONTENTS
PREFACE
THE BRIDE OF THE MAN-HORSE
DISTRESSING TALE OF THANGOBRIND THE JEWELLER
THE HOUSE OF THE SPHINX
PROBABLE ADVENTURE OF THE THREE LITERARY MEN
THE INJUDICIOUS PRAYERS OF POMBO THE IDOLATER
THE LOOT OF BOMBASHARNA
MISS CUBBIDGE AND THE DRAGON OF ROMANCE
THE QUEST OF THE QUEEN'S TEARS
THE HOARD OF THE GIBBELINS
HOW NUTH WOULD HAVE PRACTISED HIS ART UPON THE GNOLES
HOW ONE CAME, AS WAS FORETOLD, TO THE CITY OF NEVER
THE CORONATION OF MR. THOMAS SHAP
CHU-BU AND SHEEMISH
THE WONDERFUL WINDOW
EPILOGUE
Derek Davis
Very poetic short fantasy sketches. A bit too poetic short sketches? Dunsany at his best was one of the finest of the early 20th century fantasists, but this isn't really his best. It's more of literary doodling, though in keeping with its times.
Mike
Lord Dunsany inspired al ot of the great fantasy writers of the 2oth century, both in terms of world-creating (many stories involve his invented myths and lands) and in the outrageous surrealsim of some of his work. Highly recommended.
Joseph
All I can say is that I love Dunsany's tales of fantasy and myth that more often than not have something to say about the art of living. You will not be disappointed with any of his books.
Mikael Onsjö
magically, cute and wonderful here and there - but I find it hard to find any meaning or follow the intentions of the characters in Dunsany/s stories.
Jenn
This is an amusing book of short stories. I never did know where they were going but that mostly it would not end well for the main character.
Wickedshizuku (and the Jedi pup)
Fantastic writing. I must find more of this man's work. I was a little disappointed that it was so short, and that the book felt a little incomplete.
Terry Irving
This is the guy who INVENTED the fantasy novel.

Seriously, everything from Tolkien to the Iron Druid is descended from this book.
Christopher
Early fantasy, great stuff. The artist did up the illustrations first and Dunsany wrote stories around the pictures. Excellent!
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9172
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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“Come with me, ladies and gentlemen who are in any wise weary of London: come with me: and those that tire at all of the world we know: for we have new worlds here.” 10 likes
“Yet in the blood of man there is a tide, an old sea-current rather, that is somehow akin to the twilight, which brings him rumours of beauty from however far away, as driftwood is found at sea from islands not yet discovered: and this spring-tide or current that visits the blood of man comes from the fabulous quarter of his lineage, from the legendary, the old; it takes him out to the woodlands, out to the hills; he listens to ancient song.” 3 likes
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