E.R. Eddison

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by jfclark, Jul 17, 2002.

  1. jfclark

    jfclark Registered User

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2002
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I know there are at least a few people on the forum who have read E.R. Eddison's classic fantasies, including The Worm Ouroboros and the Zimiamvian Trilogy.

    I've read Ouroboros and am nearly finished with A Fish Dinner in Memison, the second book of the trilogy. Have found each to be an astounding work with the kind of merit that no current writer of fantasy (with maybe one or two shining exceptions) can even hope to match. At the same time, Eddison's books leave one baffled as well as dazzled--the underlying philosophy can seem muddled sometimes, and Eddison's style is occasionally impenetrable. But the dazzlement is what stays with me the most.

    Is anyone interested in discussing Eddison (any of the books)? In particular, has anyone read the Zimiamvian books and actually understood them?
     
  2. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2000
    Messages:
    10,061
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Good description, impenetrable, I find it hard to disagree. I had to stop about 1/2 way through. I enjoyed the story, but the style was definitely a stumbling block. That said, without reservations I plan on giving The Worm another try at some point.
     
  3. jfclark

    jfclark Registered User

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2002
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I guess I was referring only to the Zimiamvian books as "impenetrable." I found The Worm to be quite accessible. To be honest, I think Eddison's style in The Worm is intoxicating--he's just drunk on the richness of the English language. I think anyone with a fondness for Shakespeare or the King James Bible ought to be quite at home in The Worm.

    But Zimiamvia? What's going on?
     
  4. Llama

    Llama Registered User

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2001
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I read THE WORM OUROBOROS a very long time ago, but as I'm on something of a rereading kick I thought I might read it though again. When I went to look for it, though, I couldn't find it so I just reordered it. I haven't read through the Zimiamvia trilogy I don't think. I'd be happy to discuss Eddison again after I reread OUROBOROS. I don't think I remember enough of it to have too fruitful a discussion of it right now.
     
  5. UberDarkLord

    UberDarkLord New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2004
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Found this topic via the search, decided to give it a kick since I am quite interested in E.R. Eddison's pre-Tolkien fantasy, but I'm not yet sure enough to buy it.
    Any other views on this book, The Worm Ouroboros (the title alone is worth more than some entire books... )?
     
  6. Nevyn

    Nevyn "hot and jolly"

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The Worm Ouroboros simply put is by far and far the most brilliant piece of writing of which I am unlikely to find anywhere again!!
    I think that once you can conquer Eddison's prose , which by the way is part of the pleasure , you'll find a excellant heroic fantasy with an ending that will blow you away . Well worth your time!!
     
  7. Julian

    Julian Inter spem metumque iacto

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    883
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    To my shame, I must admit that could not coherently discuss the Zimiamvian books, and no doubt would have a hard time with Ouroboros as well.

    I read Eddison a long time ago (when I was fifteen or so), and at the time loved Ouroboros, but found Zimiamvia totally bewildering (if mesmerising). Part of this may, by the way, have been due to the fact that, on recommendation, I read the series in reverse order. (I have more or less similar recollections of James Branch Cabell, by the way, though I read that from start to finish.)

    I really should re-read these books, though, shouldn't I? Ah well, I do think a discussion is a great idea. Hope it gets started up and I can join a bit later!
     
  8. jfclark

    jfclark Registered User

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2002
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well, my original post was from almost 2 years ago, and I'd have to read the Zimiamvian books again to really contribute much. But since Eddison's been dead for decades, postponing the discussion for a little loner wouldn't be the end of the world.
     
  9. knivesout

    knivesout unconditional roach love

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have read three of his books - they are quite bewildering apart from The Worm Ouroboros. I think there is a lot of philosophical allegorising going on in A Fish Dinner In Memison and Mistress of Mistreses, but it can get quite hard to fathom precisely what it means.

    Mevertheless, the books are a good, if difficult read, and at least Ouroboros is a book that bears re-reading.
     
  10. Julian

    Julian Inter spem metumque iacto

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    883
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Okay - we all seem to be discussing how not to discuss Eddison here.

    Anyone game? In three months time - that's starting June 1 2004, or thereabouts - how about the real thing? Starting with Ouroboros?

    Hey, jf?
     
  11. jfclark

    jfclark Registered User

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2002
    Messages:
    302
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'll still be here in three months, God willing :)

    And it would be great to discuss the books. Ouroboros is a giant within the genre, and Zimiamvia is momentous in ways I haven't yet figured out, but am very curious about nonetheless . . .
     
  12. knivesout

    knivesout unconditional roach love

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Sounds good to me. I doubt his works will ever find the wider readership Tolkien did, but they are worth a look, at least, and anything that will whip up a little interest is a good thing!
     
  13. Nevyn

    Nevyn "hot and jolly"

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2002
    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm not really sure what everyone is looking for in Eddisons work , hidden meanings etc.!
    To quote Eddison himself from the foreword of The Worm Ouroboros
    " It is neither allegory nor fable but a story to be read for its own sake "

    I have to admit to having not read the Zimiamvian books , though they are on the cards for this year anyhow !

    Count me in , looking forward to it !:)
     
  14. Julian

    Julian Inter spem metumque iacto

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    883
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well, that seems to make four of us...

    Now, where is my copy of Ouroboros... Ah, there it is!

    See you guys in June!
     
  15. Julian

    Julian Inter spem metumque iacto

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2003
    Messages:
    883
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    .... comes skidding in with sheepish smile....

    Okay, here I am! A little late, I'll admit - and worse to follow. I did actually start re-reading Ouroboros a little while back - and got to about page 10 or so :eek:

    At present I'm still working on O'Leary's The Gift - but Eddison is at the top of the pile... Hope to be back soon.

    Sorry!
     
  16. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,198
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Don't worry, Julian.

    Though I didn't say I was joining in, I intended to read it, too.....somehow, though, June snuck up on me. I was totally shocked to see the BotM discussions open for June. I'm still back in early to mid-may somehow.
     
  17. knivesout

    knivesout unconditional roach love

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Messages:
    406
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have been remiss too. To my credit however, the reason is that I lent my copy to a friend. :)
     
  18. californiasteve

    californiasteve New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2005
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I read all of his novels, but that was many years ago. I have since rediscovered The Worm Ouroboros and have reread it 3 or 4 times in the last 5 years or so. I don't remember much about the other books but I'm sure they are worth reading. You can download a copy of The Worm Ouroboros here: http://www.lulu.com/content/162834 It passed into the public domain 3 years ago.
     
  19. Jack

    Jack Hyperpower!

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Messages:
    623
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hey, that's pretty cool. I wonder what other classics of our genre have slipped into the public domain? As for myself, I've already bought a copy of Worm Ouroboros. Cost me a dolla'! Looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about.
     
  20. Oubliette

    Oubliette Registered User

    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Resurrecting this thread because I just bought Mistress of Mistresses under the impression that it was the first book of the Zimiamvian Trilogy. I'm confused now after hearing about people reading the books in reverse order due to the publishing order not being the chronological order? I don't want to spoil the books by accidently reading the last one first. Can anyone who read them tell me if I've understood correctly that the chronological order and proper reading order is:
    1. The Mezentian Gate
    2. A Fish Dinner in Memison
    3. Mistress of Mistresses

    Also, how does The Worm Ouroboros relate to the trilogy? Does it matter if I read it before or after? I thought it was a stand alone, but after reading about it, it seems there is a connection to the trilogy.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!