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In the Land of Time: And Other Fantasy Tales

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  501 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
A new edition of the Fantasy Tales that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft 

A pioneer in the realm of imaginative literature, Lord Dunsany has gained a cult following for his influence on modern fantasy literature, including such authors as J.R.R. Tolkien and H. P. Lovecraft. This unique collection of short stories ranges over five decades of work. Liberal selection
Paperback, 432 pages
Published February 24th 2004 by Penguin Classics (first published January 1st 1986)
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October 2011

No doubt most folks just call Lord Byron "Byron" (I know I do), but does anyone just say Dunsany? That's Lord Dunsany to you, and you'd better hope Neil Gaiman doesn't come after you for that. Granted, I haven’t actually read The King of Elfland's Daughter yet, but I've heard good things about it--and when I found this collection, I figured I'd give it a try. Stories from one of the fathers of modern mythic fantasy? I'm in!

Oh dear.

Here's the thing: Dun--sorry, Lord Dunsany--writes so
Mar 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Pretty good collection of Dunsany-ness. There's a nice, wide selection from the mythology of the Pegana section to the humor of the Jorkens and other later tales. Some stories work better than others. The over-the-top epics really get on my nerves. On the other hand, I enjoyed the more lyrical, insightful bits such as "The Kith of the Elf-folk" tale. So Andersen-esque.

It wasn't exactly a quick read, but then you can always read the stories out of order and come back to it whenever you like. I gi
Murray Ewing
If you like classic fantasy, you’re bound to come across Lord Dunsany at some point. Ursula Le Guin called him the "most imitated, and the most inimitable” writer of fantasy, though nowadays that title would probably go to George R R Martin. Dunsany is almost Martin’s opposite. He wrote mostly short stories, and the ones he’s most famous for are very light on characterisation, but heavy on fantastic sights and magical wonder, written in a deliberately archaic, poetic prose style. But these stori ...more
I first came across Lord Dunsany as a teenager (coming to him via Lovecraft and Tolkien) and read The King of Elfland's Daughter at age 17, which was pleasant and magical... but the early Lord Dunsany prose poem fantasy dreams in this volume were a stunning revelation to me.

At his best, the early Lord Dunsany comes off like a cross between Yates and Borges (with bits of Hesiod thrown in); he excels at a rhythmic language full of haunting descriptions and richly symbolic moments, of fragile gods
Mar 06, 2015 rated it liked it
I love Dunsany I just found this collection sort of dry and soulless. The footnotes tended to be like "Charon was a Greek ferryman if the dead across the river styx..." Etc. like come on bro, if you're reading this book you probably already know that shit. You also don't get any of Sidney Sime's illustrations which are always stunningly on point and really seem to flow from the exact same font of inspiration Dunsany himself drew; both prose and picture serving some greater whole.

If you're lookin
Sep 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: kick it old school
The man INVENTED inventing myths and pantheons for the poetry of it.
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of Lord Dunsany's stories, and this is a magnanimous collection, comprising everything from his eccentric "Tales of Pegana" (an invented mythology from 1905) to his colorful, wistful tales of fantasy worlds adn the lucky few who can find them. At times Dunsany is a bit too perfumed for his own good, reminding me of his contemporary in music, Alexander Scriabin. Both spin sensuous waves of sound in a hothouse of magic and twilight, and sometimes, these stories don't date well. Some ...more
Apr 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Just occasionally, in this collection of short stories, sketches, and wisps of ideas, some themed and some random, I got it. I became part of the cult. Just occasionally, I was swept up in Dunsanay's amazing ability to describe the countryside in terms so lyrical that they seem otherworldly and evocative of a place that humans can only dream about visiting. Just occasionally, I was transported to an imaginary world that seemed infinitely preferable to this one, even with the requisite dangers of ...more
Sep 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Rob by: Michael Dirda
I purchased this Dunsany collection to sample some of the Jorgens tales, which Michael Dirda included in his "Comedy Tonight" list. While the Jorgens tales were pleasant, I was more impressed by the breadth of Dunsany's work, particulary the imagination contained in his "myth" stories, especially The Gods of Pagena. It's quite amazing to know that Pagena was published in 1905, before the works of other, better known fantasists. The prose style and detail are quite remarkable; it is like reading ...more
Sep 27, 2009 marked it as to-read
Shelves: fantasy
Reading a few of the short stories when I have time:

I. Pegana and Environs

II. Tales of Wonder
The Ghosts--Interesting. ***
Blagdaross--Started it but feel asleep. It is a story that needs you to focus since the narrator keeps switching.

III. Prose Poems
Charon--Awesome. Plus I love anything that uses mythology.*****

IV. Fantasy and Reality

V. Jorkens

VI. Some Late Tales.
Poseidon--Good. Kind of puts me in the mind of
American Gods. ***
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Both a hit-and-miss collection (though luckily more of the former and less of the latter), and while Dunsany's style can take awhile to become accustomed to, when he's at the top of his game his prose can be a thing of beauty. I especially liked the stories "The Fortress Unvanquishable, Save For Sacnoth," "Blagdaross," "The Bride of the Man-Horse," "Two Bottles of Relish," "The Cut," and "The Development of the Rillswood Estate." Some of the prose poems collected here are quite exquisite as well ...more
Rhomboid Goatcabin
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A collection of uniquely inventive and fantastic tales. Spearheading the fantasy and horror genres, not least through his influence on Tolkien and Lovecraft, respectively, and once considered quite canonical, Dunsany's works have unfortunately fallen somewhat out of favor in recent decades. Highly recommended to, frankly, the entire reading public.
Jul 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful collection of some of Lord Dunsany's best short stories. Tales from Pagana, to Dunsany's fantasy to Jorkens are included in this book. It is an excellent and rather large collection of stories unlike any you've read before.
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
A representative collection of short stories by Lord Dunsany, a sampling from across his lifetime. The earlier stories, especially, are imaginative fantasy, stories of gods and heroes, some sword and sorcery, set in dream worlds. Later in life, judging by the stories in this collection, he wrote stories a bit more down to earth though still unique in situation. One section of the book is a selection revolving around a fictional storyteller named Joseph Jorkens who regales his listeners at a loca ...more
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
I can see the influence on later Fantasy and Science Fiction writers, but that doesn't make Dunsany an entertaining read now. The problem is simply that most of the stories are dull and I found myself skimming. A few stories, the dream like narratives such as "Idle Days on the Yann" and its two sequels were fun reads, but mostly because I liked the witch in "A Shop in Go-By Street", knitting a robe for a King who'd been dead a thousand years. "The Kith of the Elf-Folk" was a well-told story, but ...more
Jared Pechacek
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it
The first two-thirds are brilliant, shifting from myth to prose poetry to horror to fairy tales, sometimes even in one paragraph. It's worth picking up the book just to get these weird, beautiful stories, which aren't really like anything else, and whose influence you can see on modern fantasy and science fiction to this day.
The second slips in quality with each passing sentence until I found myself skimming just to get to the end.
So I split the difference with a three star rating.
Sam Moss
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
The 'god of pegana' is so great. The rest are fairly standard short stories. Most of them are 'one idea' stories.
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
There's no arguing the lucid beauty of Dunsany's prose, or his facility at fairy-tale-like extended metaphor. There may be some argument over just how much of that kind of thing one reader can stand when it's unsupported by the forward motion of plot, but that's a personal issue for each of us to decide. My taste for purely aesthetic pieces is somewhat limited, so my mileage In the Land of Time varied.

Dunsany's influence on some of Lovecraft's work, particularly fantastical pieces like "The Whit
Feb 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Definitely enjoyable in parts - with the recent upsurge in pre-Lovecraft "weird fiction" (thanks True Detective!), I wanted to read one of the others grouped with Robert Chambers and Arthur Machen - especially after reading Dunsany's story in The Weird compilation - "How Nuth Would Have Practiced His Art Upon the Gnoles" which I LOVED - unfortunately not included here.

Definitely felt this was a mixed bag, some stories more enjoyable than others. When one was as prolific as Dunsany there's defini
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18:e Baronen av Dunsany publicerade av lättförklarliga skäl sina verk under det förkortade namnet Lord Dunsany; och trots sin plats i Fantasy-literaturens utveckling så är han inte speciellt känd. Vilket är en skam dels för att hans roll i den (H.P Lovecraft är bara en i raden av författare som uttryckt sin beundran) och dels för att de verk som han skrev i början av 1900-talet tillhör genrens toppskikt. Jag står fast vid att "Sagan Om Ringen" är det värsta som
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, dunsany
The prose poem Charon is my favourite text in this book. With a notion of respect, I have reworked it into a shorter 'The Dunsany's Ending' after being influenced by Walcott's Omeros and Seth's Golden Gate and watching the Olympics.

Other reviewers (see likes) talk of the landscape of Lord Dunsany's fantasy fiction. One can imagine the blank canvases of old atlases and the mythologies needed to discuss the places of Africa and Asia and their exotic mindscapes only accessible to a few long distan
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it
This was my first taste of Lord Dunsany's work and I was surprised to find the tales in this volume ranging from mythological to sword and sorcery, faery tales to adventure stories. There is something for everyone in the work he produced throughout his life. If there is one thing I took away from this sampling it was that Lord Dunsany was Irish storyteller and worthy example of all the magic and mystery that came from his homeland.
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another fantastic collection. While the early Gods of Pegana tales require a bit of slogging, the last two thirds of this book are immersively brilliant. Mostly humorous rather than suspenseful, which suits my fancy just fine. The Jorkens tales are great parodies of more classic adventure stories in the mold of Burroughs. Dunsany is an under-appreciated gem of an author!
Mike Tuholski
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-library
Gods of Pegana was a little hard to get into at first but after a while I really enjoyed it and of course Dunsany's fantasy/fairy tales are wonderful. His later stories were also still entertaining as well, but I think the fantastical short story was really Dunsany's sweet spot. I am looking forward to reading more of him in the future.
Ibrahim Z
Apr 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Tales of Wonder and Pegana are for the most part really well done (especially The Sword of Welleran, Kith of the Elf Folk, and The Fortress Unvanquishable Save for Sacnoth) but the rest were more hit and miss. By the time I got to Jorkens and Some Late Tales I was seriously dragging and it turned into more of a chore.

I would probably just buy Tales and Pegana on their own.
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
i wanted to like this a lot more than i did. reading dream quest of unknown kadath by lovecraft is evoking dunsany's style very strongly. again, i remember feeling like i was reading a travelogue. it is interesting to me that the debt to dunsany and george macdonald, another fantasy genre precursor, really does seem to be the elements of the fantasy they write about, rather than the style.
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This one is great. I think ST Joshi might have the magic touch when it comes to editing and selecting stories. The span of Lord Dunsany's career is amazing. From creating myths, to inspiring the sword and sorcery genre to British clubmen tall tales, this book is packed with wonderful stories.
May 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Lord Dunsany is the incredible hulk of fantastic fiction.
Jun 16, 2007 marked it as to-read
Shelves: want
I read the Gods of Pagena which was pretty good.
I'll read the rest later.
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
for short tales packs a lot into each story.
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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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