The Origin of the Fantasy Genre Is Noble


Fantasy Masterworks: The King of Elfland’s Daughter.

I am not a fantasy reader or writer. But after spending time reading the post I’ve linked from the blog Fabulous Realms, I am tempted to give the genre a try.

An Irish lord created the genre. That, in itself, seems  ironic, since the romanticized life of princes, princesses, lords and ladies dominates the imaginary world of fairy tales and fantasy worlds. It seems most fantasy readers want transported into a royal realm to vicariously experience it. With Lord Dunsany, you have a nobleman capturing his own culture using the fantastical. His escape is no escape at all.

I was encouraged to read that Dunsany refused to be restrained by genre in his work. He was a versatile and creative writer, with works including fantasy, drama, poetry, science fiction, prose and autobiography. According to Fabulous Realms, Dunsany’s surviving published works exceed 80.

Yet, I was floored to learn the skill of this 20th Century author. Once he imagined a tale, he may practice it orally before an audience. But once he started to write–by hand–his manuscript, he rarely rewrote it. His first draft was the draft which ended up with the publisher.

He had an interesting writer’s ritual. He wrote sitting upon a crumpled hat. It’s as if it were a magician’s hat, conjuring up rich vistas and characters to populate Dunsany’s story. As the story goes, the hat was stolen by a visitor to Dunsany castle.

My guess is the thief was cursed, if not with a pox, then certainly with bad dreams, where the thief is chased to his death by dragon-riding elves.

Need a nudge this morning to get the writing started? Take a moment to read about writing Lord Dunsany-style. I think you’ll be bewitched.

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