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The Gods of Pegāna by Lord Dunsany
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The Gods of Pegāna (1905)

by Lord Dunsany

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Showing 4 of 4
Really lovely and strange. They're deeply sad and poetic; probably a little overwrought, honestly, but it seems to work in this context. I think in a later book Dunsany ended up poking fun at this "earnest" tone from his earlier period, but it really does work just fine here.

I'm reminded a little of the Silmarillion, in both the style and the substance. I wonder of Tolkien ever read any of this? ( )
  dmmjlllt | Mar 9, 2019 |
This is a book that I've reread time and again, usually every year or two. It's a strange one, and there's not much else to compare it to. Ya know the "dramatis personae" section that's included with many books of mythology, prefacing the stories that make up the bulk of those books? The Gods of Pegana has that, too... except that this is, essentially, all that it consists of. Lord Dunsany took the concept of "dramatis personae" and raised it to the level of poetry. Each invented god is beautifully described and given its own set of quirks. It actually gets really funny in a bleak kind of way. "Seinfeld" and the "Road Runner" cartoons taught us that nihilism is funny, right? The most notable case is that of Mung, Pegana's god of death. Every time Mung shows up to claim some stupid, arrogant human's life, he "makes the sign of Mung." The repetition involved renders it absurd to the point where I can't help but chuckle.

One day as a man trod upon the road that Kib had given him to tread he came suddenly upon Mung. And when Mung said: "I am Mung!" the man cried out: "Alas, that I took this road, for had I gone by any other way then had I not met with Mung."

The reader can see where both Lovecraft and Tolkien were inspired by this. Lovecraft, of course, took reign of the nihilistic aspects of indifferent supernatural beings and accelerated that indifference into misanthropy in order to turn them into horrific alien powers that have every interest in enslaving or destroying humanity. Tolkien, on the other hand, took the idea of an invented mythology and tamed it to give it a more traditional flavor that would allow him to capture the essence of old Europe. There's something of Dunsany's Kib in Tolkien's Yavanna, and something of Mana-Yood-Sushai in Illuvatar. It's unfortunate that these influences are mostly what come to mind when The Gods of Pegana is mentioned, because Dunsany's work is a remarkable work of art on its own. ( )
  Sylvester_Olson | Jul 1, 2018 |
The Gods of Pegana is an invented pantheon. This slim book by Lord Dunsany has been tremendously influential, having inspired illustrious personages such as H.P.Lovecraft and J.R.R.Tolkien. And the original illustrations by Sidney Sime are classics by themselves.

I have been wanting to read this book for a long time, but the actual reading left me a wee bit disappointed; as this is not a story, rather an idea for one. Dunsany has done a tremendous job of world-building. The Gods are all imagined in detail and exquisitely developed as characters: the language is appropriately archaic and elliptical: and the events described are sufficiently awe-inspiring. However, the book stops there. No story is developed, other than bits and pieces of legends and myths here and there.

The Pegana Gods are loosely modelled on the Celtic Pantheon, as the names indicate. However, MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI who sleeps and dreams up the universe could be a stand-in for Vishnu, the Hindu preserver God, who does the same thing. And there are also gods for dreams and sleep, and even for stroking cats and dogs!

The Gods of Pegana has done a wonderful job in providing inspiration for The Silimarillion and the Cthulu mythos. That alone should mark it for immortality.

A short and enjoyable read for fantasy/ mythology fans.

PS: This book is available for download on the internet archive. Make sure you download the one with the Sidney Sime illustrations... they are magnificent! ( )
1 vote Nandakishore_Varma | Sep 28, 2013 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2155065.html

This is another book available online, complete with illustrations by S.H. Sime. It is quite a remarkable achievement, a short collection of fantasy vignettes illustrating a new pantheon, led by the always-capitalised creator god MĀNA-YOOD-SUSHĀĪ, who has fallen asleep and must not be woken (which may sound familiar); the people of Pegāna, and their prophets, have a very uneasy relationship with the various deities.

Both J.R.R. Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft, teenagers when it was first published, claimed to have been inspired by The Gods of Pegāna and one can see the links, though of course they took it in quite different directions. (Lovecraft also mentions Sime's art, and one can see its influence in Tolkien's drawings too.) Looking at it from the other direction, you can detect the influence of W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, both of whom Dunsany would ave known well, along with perhaps some elements from his mother's cousin Sir Richard Burton. But Dunsany took all of these and made his own secondary creation; I don't think it is mch of an exaggeration to say that he helped set the tone for a whole genre. ( )
  nwhyte | Aug 12, 2013 |
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Is contained in

Contains

Of Skarl the Drummer [short story] by Lord Dunsany

Of the Making of the Worlds [short story] by Lord Dunsany

Of the Game of the Gods [short story] by Lord Dunsany

The Chaunt of the Gods [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

The Sayings of Kib [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

The Deeds of Mung [short story] by Lord Dunsany

The Chaunt of the Priests [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

The Sayings of Limpang-Tung [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

Of Yoharneth-Lahai [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

Of Roon, the God of Going [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

The Revolt of the Home Gods [short story] by Lord Dunsany

Of Dorozhand [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

The Eye in the Waste [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

Of the Thing that is Neither God Nor Beast [short story] by Lord Dunsany

Yonath the Prophet [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

Yug the Prophet [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

Alhireth-Hotep the Prophet [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

Kabok the Prophet [short story] by Lord Dunsany

Of the Calamity that Befell Yun-Ilara [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

Of How the Gods Whelmed Sidith [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

Of How Imbaun Became High Prophet [short story] by Lord Dunsany

Of How Imbuan Met Zodrak [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

Pegana [short story] by Lord Dunsany

The Sayings of Imbaun [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

Wie Imbaun zum König vom Tod sprach [Kurzgeschichte] by Lord Dunsany

Of Ood [short story] by Lord Dunsany

The River [short story] by Lord Dunsany

The Bird of Doom and the End [short story] by Lord Dunsany

The Gods of Pegana [short story] by Edward J. M. D. Plunkett 18th baron Dunsany

Von Sish, dem Zerstörer der Stunden [Kurzgeschichte] by Lord Dunsany

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There be islands in the Central Sea, whose waters are bounded by no shore and where no ships come -- this is the faith of their people. In the mists before THE BEGINNING, Fate and Chance cast lots to decide whose the Game should be; and he that won strode through the mists to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI and said: "Now make gods for Me, for I have won the cast and the Game is to be Mine." Who it was that won the cast, and whether it was Fate or whether Chance that went through the mists before THE BEGINNING to MANA-YOOD-SUSHAI-none knoweth.… (more)

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