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Lud-In-The-Mist by Hope Mirrlees
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Lud-In-The-Mist (original 1926; edition 2005)

by Hope Mirrlees, Hope Mirrlees (Foreword)

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1,124257,306 (4)1 / 75
Member:Victrix20
Title:Lud-In-The-Mist
Authors:Hope Mirrlees
Other authors:Hope Mirrlees (Foreword)
Info:Cold Spring Press (2005), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Lud-In-The-Mist by Hope Mirrlees (1926)

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This 1926 fantasy novel combines much of the language of 19th-century English fantasy with some 20th century preoccupations. It stops at the point when many a fantasy novel would be just getting started, but its tale of the relationship between the humdrum world and the faery world, told almost entirely from the mundane side of the line, still packs a thought-provoking punch - and is told in some beautiful language. ( )
  timjones | May 19, 2014 |
I think this originally went on my to-read list when I was looking for books similar to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. And there are some major similarities, though this is friendlier, dreamier, and less ambitious.

I found this to be a surprising and interesting read. The tone is really strong and consistent. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 4, 2014 |
"Poor Chanticleer! Poor John o' Dreams!" he said gently. "I have often wished my honey were not so bitter to the taste. Believe me, Chanticleer, I fain would find an antidote to the bitter herb of life, but none grows this side of the hills - or the other."
"And yet . . . I have never tasted fairy fruit," said Master Nathaniel in a low broken voice.
"There are many fruits in my orchard, and many and various are the fruit they bear - music and dreams and grief and sometimes, joy. All your life, Chanticleer, you have eaten fairy fruit, and some day, it may be, you will hear the Note again - but that I cannot promise."


A Fantasy classic from the 1920s, "Lud-in-the-Mist" was Hope Mirrlees' only foray into the genre. The Luddites have had no truck with magic since a revolution several hundred years ago in which they threw out the dissolute Lord Aubrey and replaced magic with the rule of law. But the river Dapple, whose source is in Fairyland, flows through the town, and fairy fruits are still smuggled into Lud, causing 'madness, suicide, orgiastic dances, and wild doings under the moon' in those who eat them.

And when his son shows signs of having eaten fairy fruit and the pupils of Miss Crabapple's Academy for young ladies, his daughter among them, vanish into Fairyland, Mayor Nathaniel Chanticleer has to face the danger head on, instead of hiding behind the legal fictions that deny the existence of Faerie. ( )
1 vote isabelx | Nov 23, 2013 |
Years ago, I was interested in learning about edible wild plants from Southeastern (U.S.) forests. After sampling many, I realized that by and large (with some exceptions), the plants we have domesticated taste better and are a lot less work to prepare, and that's why the wild plants have stayed wild. First published in 1926 but often out of print, this tale is relatively obscure for similar reasons. With uneven and shifting tones, the book tells the story of the bourgeois mayor of Lud-in-the-Mist, who must unmask a conspiracy by the world of faerie to infiltrate his stiff, modern, and complacent capital city. The story can be read (with some risk of sucking the life from it) as an allegory of the ways the conscious mind tries to suppress the unconscious, with disastrous results. Taken at face value, the story starts slowly, but becomes more compelling from half-way through, when it falls into a conventional narrative with heroes, villains, and a reason to care about the outcome. Like some wild plants, it has a following that loves its exotic flavor, but it's not an easily digestible read (though it is short).

It's worth approaching the book knowing that the author works from a Victorian conception of faerie -- the fey are appealing, even seductive, but also capricious and cruel. It's the same concept that animates Christina Rossetti's poem 'Goblin Market,' which, along with Charles Dickens' idiosyncratic characters, seems to have shaped the aesthetic of this book. Lud-in-the-Mist was published just a few years after E.R. Eddison's 1922 The Worm Ouroboros, and the books both take for granted a hierarchical view of human society, and feel different from modern fantasy in some of the same ways; but they explore different aspects of the modernist moment and it's hard to imagine that either directly influenced the other. ( )
2 vote bezoar44 | Jul 3, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hope Mirrleesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Herring, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wyatt, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The Sirens stand, as it would seem, to the ancient and the modern, for the impulses in life as yet immoralised, impervious longings, ecstasies, whether of love or art, or philosophy, magical voices calling to a man from his "Land of Heart's Desire," and to which if he hearken it may be that he will return no more--voices, too, which, whether a man sail by or stay to hearken, still sing on.

-- Jane Harrison
Dedication
To the Memory of My Father
First words
The free state of Dorimare was a very small country, but, seeing that it was bounded on the south by the sea and on the north and east by mountains, while its centre consisted of a rich plain, watered by two rivers, a considerable variety of scenery and vegetation was to be found within its borders.
Quotations
Lud-in-the-Mist had all the things that make an old town pleasant. It had an ancient Guild Hall, built of mellow golden bricks and covered with ivy and, when the sun shone on it, it looked like a rotten apricot; it had a harbour in which rode vessels with white and red and tawny sails; it had flat brick houses - not the mere carapace of human beings, but ancient living creatures, renewing and modifying themselves with each generation under their changeless antique roofs.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345258487, Mass Market Paperback)

Helen Hope Mirrlees (1887-1978) was a British translator, poet and novelist. She is best known for the 1926 Lud-in-the-Mist, a fantasy novel and influential classic.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:11 -0400)

This is the story of the mayor of Lud-in-the-Mist, Master Nathaniel Chanticleer, a respectable burgher who learns that his young son has eaten forbidden fairy fruit. Some centuries earlier, fairy things had been looked upon with reverence, and fairy fruit was enjoyed by the people of Dorimare. but since the burghers had taken over, fairy things have become unspeakable and there are problems in the trafficking of illegal fairy fruit.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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