- Dunsany, Lord
- (Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron Dunsany)(1878– 1957).Irish author of fantasy tales. Author of many stories of imaginary-world fantasy, including The Gods of Pegana (1905), Time and the Gods (1906), The Sword of Welleran (1908), A Dreamer’s Tales (1910), The Book of Wonder (1912), Fifty-one Tales (1915), The Last Book of Wonder (1916), and Tales of Three Hemispheres (1919); also plays, including Five Plays (1914) and Plays of Gods and Men (1917). HPL first read A Dreamer’s Talesin late 1919 from a recommendation by amateur journalist Alice Hamlet; he attended a lecture given by Dunsany in Boston on October 20, 1919 (see SL1.91–93). Many of HPL’s early tales — “The Doom That Came to Sarnath” (1919), “The White Ship” (1919), “The Cats of Ulthar” (1920), “Celephais” (1920), “The Quest of Iranon” (1921), “The Tree” (1921), “The Other Gods” (1921) — are clear imitations of Dunsany. Later stories such as “The Silver Key” (1926) and “The Strange High House in the Mist” (1926) refine the Dunsanian influence. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath(1926–27) appears to be a tribute to Dunsany, but may be a kind of repudiation of him in Randolph Carter’s abandonment of otherworldly fantasy for memories of his youth. See entries on these stories for discussions of works by Dunsany that may have influenced them.In “Some Notes on a Nonentity” (1933) HPL states that he “got the idea of the artificial pantheon and myth-background represented by ‘Cthulhu’, ‘YogSothoth’, ‘Yuggoth’, etc.” from Dunsany, who in The Gods of Pegana and Time and the Gods (and in those volumes alone) wrote a linked series of tales involving an invented pantheon in the imaginary realm of Pegana. HPL wrote a lecture read before an amateur journalists’ group, “Lord Dunsany and His Work” (1922); Dunsany is also discussed in “Supernatural Horror in Literature” (1927). HPL did not seem to care for Dunsany’s later work, even though much of it—beginning with The Curse of the Wise Woman(1933)—parallels HPL’s in its use of topographical realism.Late in life Dunsany came across HPL’s stories and noted that “in the few tales of his I have read I found that he was writing in my style, entirely originally & without in any way borrowing from me, & yet with my style & largely my material” (letter to August Derleth, March 28, 1952; quoted in LSNo. 14 [Spring 1987]: 38).See T.E.D.Klein, “Some Notes on the Fantasy Tales of H.P.Lovecraft and Lord Dunsany,” Honors thesis: Brown University, 1969; Mark Amory, Biography of Lord Dunsany(Collins, 1972); Darrell Schweitzer, “Lovecraft and Lord Dunsany,” in Essays Lovecraftian, ed. Darrell Schweitzer (1976; rev. ed. as Discovering H.P.Lovecraft[Starmont House, 1987]); Robert M.Price, “Dunsanian Influence on Lovecraft Outside His ‘Dunsanian’ Tales,” Crypt No. 76 (Hallowmas 1990): 3–5; S.T.Joshi and Darrell Schweitzer, Lord Dunsany: A Bibliography (Scarecrow Press, 1993); S.T.Joshi, Lord Dunsany: Master of the Anglo-Irish Imagination (Greenwood Press, 1995).
An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz.