Marty Reeder's Reviews > The Dragon Of Wantley, His Rise, His Voracity And His Downfall: A Romance

The Dragon Of Wantley, His Rise, His Voracity And His Downfall by Owen Wister
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Aug 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: bedroom-bookshelf, kindle
Read in July, 2011

Most of the stories I’ve been reading lately have been true literary gems. Which, in layman’s terms, means that they would be wholly uninteresting for you to read. You can blame the Kindle for this. Were it not for this lovely contrivance, there is no way I would spend the money buying an out-of-print title from a sham, cheap publishing company, and rarely would I go through the inconvenience of printing off a version of that title to read in the awkward 8 ½ X 11 papers of my printer. Yet with the Kindle I can read about an obscure play that George Washington often attended and say, “Oh, that would be interesting to read” … and then a couple minutes later have it, for free, in ready-access format at my very fingertips (along with over 200 more titles … none of which I paid for) and capable of being read according to my own comfort.

Or, and here we’ll take our current example, say that I’ve finished reading Owen Wister’s well known and still in print novel, The Virginian. I enjoyed the experience so much that I wanted to read more of Wister’s works. Unfortunately, The Virginian was—apparently—the only lasting novel of his, because he other works are only to be found under Project Gutenberg’s electronic catalogue of works now available under public domain—nothing printed available. Enter Kindle and—lest we forget—Gutenberg’s lovely Kindle download, and wa-la! I now have a very unique and otherwise unavailable fairy tale written by the superb author, Wister, at my very beck and call.

Now (finally), I’ll get to the story. One would not think fairy tales to be the refuge of an author whose classic work is as American as filibusters and manifest destiny … especially since medieval-based fairy tales are deeply and thoroughly European at their core. Yet this, so it seems, is precisely Mr. Wister’s point. He takes something that is so sacredly European and completely Americanizes it. His fairy tale is irreverent, deviates substantially from formula, fosters a dominate female protagonist who is not your typical subjected heroine, with a matter-of-fact, casual narrator, and a magical premise siphoned away by individual vitality.

What is the result? All of the fun that the setting of a fairy tale can provide, yet none of the stifling formality and monochromatic feel of a traditional, medieval fairy tale. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the fascinating background of the Dragon of Wantley, the bumbling Lord of Wantley (under a gentle system of mocking aristocracy that P.G. Wodehouse will base a career off of), the clever daughter Elaine, the passionate but basically useless knight, and the frank, personable narrator.

I’m afraid that if you happen to see plenty more reviews by me on obscure, out-of-print stories, then you can fully blame it on that rascally Dragon of Wantley for so blatantly encouraging my unnatural interest for all things rare and largely inaccessible. Well, the dragon is allowed to share some blame with the Kindle and Project Gutenberg as well … while we’re pointing fingers.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Dragon Of Wantley, His Rise, His Voracity And His Downfall.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.