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Thread: E.R. Eddison

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    E.R. Eddison

    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?

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    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Re: E.R. Eddison

    Originally posted by jfclark
    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.

    Eddison's style is occasionally impenetrable.
    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.

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    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?

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    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.

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    Registered User UberDarkLord's Avatar
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    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... )?

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    "hot and jolly" Nevyn's Avatar
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    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!!

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    Inter spem metumque iacto Julian's Avatar
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    Re: E.R. Eddison

    Originally posted by jfclark
    Is anyone interested in discussing Eddison (any of the books)? In particular, has anyone read the Zimiamvian books and actually understood them?
    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!

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    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. #9
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    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.

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    Inter spem metumque iacto Julian's Avatar
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    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?

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    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 . . .

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    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!

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    "hot and jolly" Nevyn's Avatar
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    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 !

    Originally posted by Julian
    Anyone game? In three months time - that's starting June 1 2004, or thereabouts - how about the real thing? Starting with Ouroboros?
    Count me in , looking forward to it !

  14. #14
    Inter spem metumque iacto Julian's Avatar
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    Well, that seems to make four of us...

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

    See you guys in June!

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    Inter spem metumque iacto Julian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julian
    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?
    .... 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

    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!

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