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The king of Elfland's daughter by Lord…
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The king of Elfland's daughter (original 1924; edition 1972)

by Lord Dunsany (Author), Lin Carter (Introduction)

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1,448275,175 (3.75)58
Member:bluesalamanders
Title:The king of Elfland's daughter
Authors:Lord Dunsany (Author)
Other authors:Lin Carter (Introduction)
Info:London : Tom Stacey, 1972.
Collections:Your library, Reviewed
Rating:***
Tags:type: mass market paperback, genre: fantasy, age: adult, genre: high fantasy, read 2014

Work details

The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany (1924)

Recently added byCalvinBoesch, Maddz, mjwdiver, AndreasJ, JaanaG, emcarleton, private library, O_Hozomeen, Me-chan
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English (26)  French (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
The council of Erl gather and speak and decide that they want their next lord to be magical. They tell their ruler this, and he sends his son to Elfland to find and marry the King of Elfland’s daughter.

I was surprised that the prince managed to find and marry the princess within the first chapter. That meant that the rest of the book had to be about - other things. It is a slow and meandering tale, with intricate and poetic language and not a lot of action. Sometimes I found the style and speed distracting, but generally I enjoyed it.

I thought I first heard of this book in a preface or afterward in one of Robin McKinley’s novels, though I can’t find it now. It makes sense, though; I can see the influence of this book’s style and language and characters throughout her work.

I'm glad I read it, but I'll be honest: it's not a book I'm planning to read again, and I wouldn't recommend it to most people. ( )
1 vote bluesalamanders | Jan 15, 2014 |
An overstretched fairy tale where, most of the time, nothing really happens. I went through the story pretty slowly, reading only a couple of chapters at a time, till I reached the end. But nothing changed, I've read endless stretches of beautiful prose about the various fantastic flowers and animals of Elfland, so what?

Some people liked this story. I didn't.

Two stars because it was well written, and because it could have been much, much better... ( )
1 vote HellCold | Jun 29, 2013 |
Maybe not quite 4 stars overall but plenty close enough. This may drag for a lot of people but if you have the patience it should be read for the experience. ( )
  Yona | May 2, 2013 |
I've read a bunch of Dunsany's short stuff and really liked it but this is his first novel that I've read (I don't think he has too many novels). The style is not exactly Shakespeareian but it is definitely a type of vaulted prose that would turn many people off. It's filled with run-on sentences that sometimes lose the subject but still sound beautiful.

The plot was interesting and the characters memorable, I really enjoyed reading names like Ziroonderel and Lirazel aloud in my fantasy-accented voice.

Not much happened in the way of action to be found here. It does have fairy-talesque quality but the ending was not typical and in some ways a let down for me. ( )
1 vote ragwaine | Apr 19, 2013 |
The twelve men making up the parliament of Erl go to their ruler one day and ask for a magic lord. The ruler agrees to grant their request and sends his son to steal and marry the King of Elfland's daughter. But of course finding her and keeping her can't be that easy.

In the introduction to this edition, Neil Gaiman compares Lord Dunsany's writing to the King James Bible. I honestly wouldn't have thought of that, but the description is perfect. The language is beautiful, but, for me, dense and a little hard to wade through. I kept thinking of those old fairy tale books by Andrew Lang, like The Orange Fairy Book. As I remember it, those books had very little dialog and just describe the story happening. That's how this was. I also mentally compared it to a beautiful, old silent movie. You're watching this beautiful story unfold, but there's no dialog. I guess I like a lot of dialog.

As I read the book, I kept thinking of a phrase my yoga teacher uses: "like you're moving through honey." That's the pace at which this book moves: like you're moving through honey. I normally tear through books so I never quite got my mind slowed down enough to fully enjoy and understand this book. When I did manage it, for a couple of paragraphs at a time, I could see what all the fuss is about. But the rest of the time, I just wished we could get on with the story. That is, if I didn't fall asleep first.

By the end, Lirazel had gotten on my nerves. She wanted to have her cake and eat it too. Who doesn't, really? But asking her father to use his last all-powerful rune to give it to her just seemed whiny and self-absorbed to me. She was a very passive character generally, so I never cared for her much to begin with. The witch was much more interesting. I would have liked more about her.

If you like beautiful, slow-moving language, you'll probably like this one. If you're like me and like your stories to move along at a pretty fast pace, you'll probably want to take a pass. ( )
  JG_IntrovertedReader | Apr 3, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lord Dunsanyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pepper, BobCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, DarrylCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waterhouse, John W.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, KathyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Lady Dunsany
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In their ruddy jackets of leather that reached to their knees the men of Erl appeared before their lord, the stately white-haired man in his long red room.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
HAPPILY NEVER AFTER...HAPPILY NEVER AFTER...

The people of the Vale of Erl wanted magic in their land. And so it was that their king sent his son, young Alveric - into the strangely enchanted meadows of Faerie to find and wed the King of Elfland's daughter.

So armed with a wondrous sword forged from thunderbolts by the witch Ziroonderel, Alveric went off to do his father's bidding. And he returned to the Vale with the beautiful Lirazel as his beloved wife.

Their love was passionate and strong, but it was no match for the magic of the King of Elfland...a magic powerful enough to whisk Lirazel away from her husband and son.

Bereft, Alveric set out on the most impossible mission any mortal ever dared...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 034543191X, Paperback)

All fantasy and horror fans owe it to themselves to read Lord Dunsany (1878-1957). The sword & sorcery genre was born in his early stories, and high fantasy was indelibly transformed by his novels. His profound influence on 20th-century fantastic fiction is visible in authors as dissimilar as Neil Gaiman, H.P. Lovecraft, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Lord Dunsany's best-known novel is The King of Elfland's Daughter (1924), wherein the men of Erl desire to be "ruled by a magic lord," and the lord's heir, Alveric, ventures into Elfland to win the king's daughter, Lirazel. Their story does not progress as a reader weaned on the diluted milk of formulaic fantasy would expect; and the novel's unique journeys and events are matched by Dunsany's rich and lyrical prose and by his contagious intoxication with the magic and marvels of both Elfland and our own world. --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A young prince ventures into a mysterious forest in search of the land of Faerie and of a princess bride, in one of the landmarks of modern fantasy fiction.

(summary from another edition)

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