Saturday, January 23, 2016

Doug's new blog

So, I was glad to learn of a new blog from Douglas Anderson (his fifth, if I'd keeping count correctly, all running concurrently).* Called A SHIVER IN THE ARCHIVES, it's a good venue for pieces on fantasy, horror, and supernatural fiction. I'm particularly enjoying it for the Dunsany pieces, the first of which contained a real discovery: a description of THE KING OF ELFLAND'S DAUGHTER in which Dunsany mentions the story's having taken place about a thousand years ago

In all the work I did on Dunsany, I never came across this important piece of information, for the simple reason that I was working with whatever Dunsany books I cd get, and many times they were library rebounds, or latter-day print-on-demands, or found in somewhat battered condition among the shelves of any number of bookstores in Milwaukee and elsewhere. Most of these lacked dustjackets, and without checking for myself I assumed the missing dustjackets didn't have that much additional information. Doug's discovery proves just how wrong I was.

For a more amusing example of Dunsany's ability to mock his critics and himself, check out the faux-review of his own book he sent his friend and publisher, Putnam:

I'm reminded of a passage on one of Dunsany's poems where he shows the ability to view himself from outside in slightly mocking mode. In the poem "Ode to a Dublin Critic" (in FIFTY POEMS [1929], p. 7), the second and fourth stanzas read

. . .  lesser journalists have said,
   That cannot see such things themselves,
The man is clearly off his head
  To write of things like gods and elves.

From little fountain-pens they wring
   The last wee drop of inky spite:
"We do not like the kind of thing
   That lords," they say, "most likely write."

--John R.

*Doug's other blogs are TOLKIEN AND FANTASY (, WORMWOODIANA, to which he's one of several contributors (, LESSER-KNOWN WRITERS (, BLINKS: READ AND RECOMMENDED, which is also quite new (, and now A SHIVER IN THE ARCHIVES.

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