December 25th, 2001, 06:02 PM
Full names/initials: Clark Ashton Smith, William Hope Hodgson, E.R. Eddison, James Branch Cabell, Abraham Merritt, H. Warner Munn, Algernon Blackwood, Robert Chambers, Ernest Bramah, Catherine L. Moore, Lord Dunsany, Francis Marion Crawford, George MacDonald, George Meredith, William Beckford, Donald Wandrei.
The list obviously was not meant to be exhaustive, they were just a few names I came up with as examples. A few others, in hopes of jogging memories and maybe convincing enthusiasts out there to share a little bit about them: David Lindsay, E. Hoffman Price, David Keller, M.P. Shiel, William Morris, H. Rider Haggard, Seabury Quinn, Arthur Machen, Gustav Meyrink, David Garnett, Richard Garnett, Jack Snow, Max Beerbohm, Thorne Smith, Charles Finney, Henry Kuttner....
I'm a committed Peake fan, I suspect there's probably quite a few other GORMENGHAST admirers out there. Hopefully the BBC series (which I only caught snippets of) will convince some people to read the books.
Maybe someone wants to write a little bit about Gormenghast or about Eddison? I confess I think of Eddison, like William Morris, as an acquired taste I've never quite managed to acquire, so I won't personally be tackling that one....
As most people probably know, Peake was as well known an illustrator as an author, if not more so. An Alice in Wonderland/Looking Glass edition containing Peake's illustrations has recently been rereleased in the US and is well worth getting. IMO he was the best Alice illustrator after Tenniel.
December 25th, 2001, 09:34 PM
Ahhh yessszz... more namessz to look for, more bookssz to read...
I'm trying to get myself started on Gorghemgast myself now, ever since I ordered it coupla years ago from BOMC. The thing is, the book-- Peake's complete trilogy-- is huge, considering its only a trade paperback.
Ditto with ER Eddison (which I borrowed from a friend) though unless I quit earning a living, I despair of ever getting around to reading.
Uh-oh, got to get back to work...
December 26th, 2001, 01:15 AM
Before I answer I need to know what the word clasic means in this sense. The word can have several definitions. To me the word means authors who have written novels that are widely excepted as one of the best fantasy litterature available. For example: Tolkine and Aaismov.
To friends of mine the term refers to those authors who have written fantasy novels in the past but are dead now.
Which is correct?
December 26th, 2001, 04:49 AM
I think both senses of "classic" can be correct. I think in this thread we are (or at least I am) trying to use the term to refer to excellent authors and works which because of their age and other factors may have been overlooked by many readers. Whether the author is living or dead doesn't really matter, although looking at my lists and given the age parameters I tried to set I don't believe anyone on them is still alive, though I could be wrong. Asimov and Tolkien are certainly sf/fantasy classics, but they are extremely well known and therefore would probably not not be the best subjects for this thread.
December 26th, 2001, 05:09 AM
(I posted the following in two posts on the "Oriental World" thread about a week ago, but because I think it's on point I'm going to repost them here. I hope no one minds.)
"Let me recommend, if I may, the fantasy stories of the British writer Ernest Bramah, who around the turn of the century created the character of Kai Lung, a storyteller living in a fantastic ancient China who's constantly getting into trouble (and out of it by telling his stories!). The Kai Lung books (KAI LUNG'S GOLDEN HOURS, THE WALLET OF KAI LUNG, KAI LUNG UNROLLS HIS MAT) contain some of the most beautiful whimsical fantasy ever written. The China they portray is by no mean historically accurate but rather a reflection of European fantasies of the time. John Connell wrote about Bramah, introducing one of his collections: "...he created his own China: a land of harsh sunlight or biting cold, of bare red-brown hills and deep gorges...a land where peasants—like mandarins and generals—spoke impeccable, if very involute, prose; a land where maidens were always as wily and determined as they were beautiful; and where, after due, humbly-phrased, persuasion, a village or an Emperor would listen enthralled to an elegant story adorned with its appropriate moral." Highly recommended."
"Most Bramah titles are out of print, but KAI LUNG'S GOLDEN HOURS has actually been reprinted, I believe by Wildside Press, and should be available on Amazon.
KAI LUNG'S GOLDEN HOURS and KAI LUNG UNROLLS HIS MAT were also reprinted in Lin Carter's Ballantine Adult Fantasy paperback series in the '70s. They come up on Ebay from time to time and are usually fairly inexpensive. You can also look for them on www.abebooks.com, the network of used book dealers.
THE WALLET OF KAI LUNG and KAI LUNG UNDER THE MULBERRY TREE are a little harder to find."
December 26th, 2001, 06:02 PM
Llama... thanks for the above, you did a far better job of it than I could
This is a good thread, I am constantly being reminded of some damn fine authors whom I read years ago.
December 27th, 2001, 01:11 AM
He's gotten slamed in the past in this forum, but I tend to like him, Terry Goodkind. I can understand why people hate him so, he has a strong anti-communist bent to him. He's my favorite in terms of overlooked books.
December 27th, 2001, 02:02 AM
\m/ BEER \m/
By no means whatsoever is Goodkind classic or overlooked the guy hits the Bestseller list with every book!!!...
For Christmas I got Dunsany's The Charwoman's Shadow, a reprint by DelRey IMPACT. Having loved The King of Elfland's Daughter couldn't wait to get the other one. Dunsany was in the most true sense of the term, a renaissance (sp?) man. He did everything, he hunted big game he was friggin' LORD, he wrote poetry, and wrote many other things other than fantasy, poetry, I think Mystery. ELFLAND is one of the best books I've ever read, regardless of genre. It could be said there will never be another like Dunsany, with the cultured background, high education etc. His work predates Tolkien and I think Eddison.
Eddison does predate Tolkien, The Worm Ouroboros was written in 1922. Tolkien does reference Eddison in interviews and such. I tried WORM but found it difficult to get past the language and style.
Two authors, though maybe not forgotten, but in league with all the others I haven't seen mentioned:
Robert E. Howard (Conan, Kull, Bran Mok Man)
I haven't read Lovecraft, but I have a collection on my to read pile.
Howard in creating Conan, basically created the Sword and Sorcery sub-genre of Fantasy (though Fritz Lieber and Michael Moorcock came up with the term). I would highly recommend picking up Howard's Conan books if you can find them. I know Orion Masterworks in the UK reprinted two Conan volumes and here inthe US The Science Fiction Book Club did a nice omnibus of his work.
[This message has been edited by FitzFlagg (edited December 27, 2001).]
December 27th, 2001, 10:15 AM
I think Dunsany has three key high fantasy novels, KING OF ELFLAND'S DAUGHTER, CHARWOMAN'S SHADOW and CHRONICLES OF RODRIGUEZ. I own all three, but have only read the first. ELFLAND'S DAUGHTER is just sublime; I walked around in a daze for a couple of days after finishing it. It's also quite short, which should serve as a reminder to high fantasy authors that it's actually possible to get a point across in less than two thousand pages and three volumes. Del Rey has done a good service in the US by bringing back to print the first two novels. Fantasy Masterworks from the UK has also brought back Time and the Gods, which collects some of his best stories.
Dunsany was for a time Lovecraft's favorite author (Lovecraft heard him lecture once in Boston and was smitten) and his influence is readily apparent in Lovecraft's Randolph Carter stories, like "Silver Key", etc. It's interesting to read these stories together with his justifiably more well-known Cthulhu Mythos stories to see how Lovecraft treated his creations (like the "night-gaunts") differently at different times. I admit I'm not too much of a fan of the Carter stories, I prefer Dunsany as Dunsany and Lovecraft as Lovecraft than Lovecraft as Dunsany. That said, the contemporary fantasist Gary Myers, author of HOUSE OF THE WORM from Arkham House, has done an excellent job of writing Mythos stories with a modern-day Dunsanian touch. His work is very good, but unfortunately a bit hard to get. Outside of HOUSE OF THE WORM, which is probably out of print, I don't think he has published another collection.
December 28th, 2001, 05:50 AM
Lord of the Wild Hunt
Lord Dunsany's King of Elfland's daughter must have been one of the most tedious books ever. No interesting characters whatsoever, which bugged me for real. I don't demand instant gratification but if all the oldies write like this highly acclaimed Lord I'm not going to venture into the "classics" and buy myself a less flowery book.
December 28th, 2001, 06:55 AM
To each his own, I guess...at least it was short.
December 31st, 2001, 09:05 AM
So here's another minireview, this time of one of my favorite fantasy novels...
LADY INTO FOX by David Garnett. This short novel, almost a novella, came out in 1922. It's a very simple, beautiful and bittersweet story about a lady who one day, in front of her husband...turns into a fox. No reason for the transformation is ever given. At first she keeps a semblance of her human personality but over time her animal instincts slowly come to the fore. Her husband, however, the tragic hero of the book, continues to love her and tend to her, through thick and thin. A fair amount has been written about the book, and it is often held up as a parable or allegory of some sort. It was one of Borges's favorites books, who wrote of it that it "belongs to the genre of the nightmare." In my opinion, however, it is just a simple and sad but very beautiful love story.
I believe the book is out of print but can be obtained used online rather easily. It often comes packaged with A MAN IN THE ZOO, another short Garnett fantasy. Garnett's grandfather Richard wrote the wonderful fantasy short story collection THE TWILIGHT OF THE GODS.
December 31st, 2001, 02:20 PM
Hey Llama, I think I read some of Gaiman's poetry on that, the "shapeshifting fox-wife". Actually, isn't the whole idea a Japanese folktale?
January 1st, 2002, 07:28 AM
I'm not that familiar with Japanese mythology but I believe there is indeed this idea of a fox that changes into a man or into a woman. I'm sure someone else can throw more light on it. I believe Tor published a novel by Kij Johnson about that topic last year which got reasonably good reviews.
As to whether this idea influenced Garnett, that's an interesting question. I don't know; it's quite possible, although he could also have come to the idea independently. The fox as the creature into which the wife turns makes sense because it is found in England (Garnett was British), is a wild as opposed to a domestic animal and is commonly hunted, which is important in the context of the book.
January 13th, 2002, 05:11 AM
I just discovered this on my shelf today; "Zimiamvia" by E.R. Eddison. I got it a long time ago but never read it. The Trilogy is old enough to have plugs from both Tolkien and Lewis.