Lord Dunsany, Back in Action

Benjamin Kozlowski

Moderator
Staff member
James Portnow, of Extra Credits (which has recently expanded its purview to science-fiction), realizing the complete dearth of available scholarship on Lord Dunsany, has tried to breathe new life into this much-forgotten author. He has recently published an annotated edition of Dunsany's "A Dreamer's Tales", which you can find on Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/Dreamers-Edward-Moreton-Plunkett-Dunsany/dp/1732037426/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524022149&sr=8-1&keywords=Portnow,+Dunsany

As someone who has been reading public domain editions of Dunsany's work on my kindle for some years now, this is super-exciting - I hope that those of you who know Dunsany are just as excited, and that this is a good opportunity for those who don't know him to fix that problem!
 

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
Hey, that's cool! And the annotated version is only 99¢ for the Kindle.

My favorite Dunsany story is The Kith of the Elf Folk, which appears in The Sword of Welleran http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10806
Much of his work is rather ponderous, but this story just captures me entirely: I love the way the Wild Thing identifies the human without a soul. Brilliant.
 

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
Which would be nice if it were available in the UK :mad::confused:
You may not actually be missing anything. . .

Much of Dunsany's work is available for free at http://www.gutenberg.org/
This site has free ebooks for many thousands of works that are out of copyright (in the US). It has 17 titles by Dunsany.
Dunsany's publication history is very complicated: many of his works were republished under other titles, or different collections of works published under identical titles, etcetera. I don't pretend to understand it at all, so I can't say if there is anything substantial missing on Gutenberg.

But I am a bit skeptical about this annotated edition for the Kindle available at Amazon, mostly because of its 99¢ pricetag... Let me tell you a story:

I had already read Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle, having downloaded it from Gutenberg years ago. But when I saw a "new, annotated and illustrated" Kindle version on Amazon, I paid $1.99 for it. It was not worth it. The illustrations are terrible low-res scans. No effort was put into the (original) footnotes: they are just interspersed with the text, at the point where they would have appeared at the bottom of a page in the original print edition. And there is not a single annotation to be seen in the whole book. If this is anything to go by, the Dunsany Kindle book might not be worth even the 99¢ they want for it.

My experience of buying cheap Kindle editions on Amazon of works that are available free at Gutenberg is almost uniformly bad. The Gutenberg license allows re-packaging and selling the books, but you would expect some added value if you're being charged for it! The one exception may be when they package up lots of books into a single Kindle book -- I do like my collection of ALL of Conan-Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories in a single volume. I could have downloaded them all separately for free and concatenated them into a single ebook myself, but it was worth 99¢ to have someone else do it for me...
 

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
You may not actually be missing anything. . .
I bought the Kindle book and can now report: the Introduction is very nice, if rather brief. It hints that more annotated Dunsany may be in the offing.

The annotations are all formatted as proper footnotes with embedded links. It would all be perfect, if it weren't for the fact that I find some of the annotations a bit silly. They make assertions that could use further explanation sometimes. Still, totally worth a dollar! (I do wish more of that could go to the annotator for all his efforts.) I especially like the annotations giving comments by other authors (LeGuin, Lovecraft, etc).
 
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