The Book of Wonder by Lord Dunsany Signed


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Elkin Mathews, Second Edition, 1919. Illustrated by Sidney Sime. Front cover signed in ink by Lord Dunsany. Some marks and staining to cover, foxing on edges of pages, other evidence of minor wear of age. Still a good copy, pages clean, spine and binding intact, no loose pages or plates. 

'The Book of Wonder is the seventh book and fifth original short story collection of Irish fantasy writer Lord Dunsany, considered a major influence on the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, H. P. Lovecraft, Ursula K. Le Guin, and others.

Dunsany employed the talents of Sidney Sime to illustrate his fantasy short story collections. However, The Book of Wonder is unique in that Sydney Sime drew the illustrations first, and Lord Dunsany wrote the tales to incorporate them;

'I found Mr Sime one day, in his strange house at Worplesdon, complaining that editors did not offer him very suitable subjects for illustration; so I said: "Why not do any pictures you like, and I will write stories explaining them, which may add a little to their mystery?"'

The short story "How Nuth Would Have Practised His Art upon the Gnoles" is likely the origin of the term gnoll; used in a number of later works, notably the Dungeons and Dragons gaming franchise, to describe a humanoid fantasy race.

'"Not only does any tale which crosshatches between this world and Faerie owe a Founder's Debt to Lord Dunsany, but the secondary world created by J.R.R. Tolkien, from which almost all fantasylands have devolved--also took shape and flower from Dunsany's example." The Book of Wonder is Dunsany at his peak of his talent. The stories here are a lush tapestry of language, conjuring images of people, places, and things which cannot possibly exist, yet somehow ring true. They are, in short, full of wonder. Together with Dunsany's other major collections, A Dreamer's Tales and Tales of Three Hemispheres, they are a necessary part of any fantasy collection.'