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The King of Elfland's Daughter (1924)

by Lord Dunsany

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,023476,156 (3.75)92
"No amount of mere description can convey more than a fraction of Lord Dunsany's pervasive charm."--H.P. Lovecraft With an introduction by Neil Gaiman The poetic style and sweeping grandeur of The King of Elfland's Daughter has made it one of the most beloved fantasy novels of our time, a masterpiece that influenced some of the greatest contemporary fantasists. The heartbreaking story of a marriage between a mortal man and an elf princess is a masterful tapestry of the fairy tale following the "happily ever after." Praise for The King of Elfland's Daughter "We find that he has but tranfigured with beauty the common sights of the world."--William Butler Yeats "I shall indeed be happy if this volume contributes to the rediscovery of one of the greatest writers of this century."--Arthur C. Clarke "Del Rey is to be thanked for bringing these works back into print. No one can understand modern fantasy without understanding its roots, and Lord Dunsany's work is immediately significant as well as enjoyable even today."--Katharine Kerr "A fantasy novel in a class with the Tolkien books."--L. Sprague de Camp… (more)
  1. 131
    Stardust by Neil Gaiman (ghilbrae)
  2. 80
    The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (dbigwood)
  3. 83
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (billiecat)
    billiecat: Clarke's descriptions of Faerie share the dreamlike qualities OF Dunsany's novel.
  4. 51
    The Ladies of Grace Adieu by Susanna Clarke (billiecat)
  5. 41
    Lud-In-The-Mist by Hope Mirrlees (PhoenixFalls)
    PhoenixFalls: Mirrlees wrote Lud-in-the-Mist in response to Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter; they are two opposing takes on Fairyland and what it means to humanity, and both are brilliant.
  6. 41
    Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton (LamontCranston)
  7. 10
    The Wizard by Gene Wolfe (LamontCranston)
  8. 10
    The Knight by Gene Wolfe (LamontCranston)
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» See also 92 mentions

English (44)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
When men quest for Elfland and ask for magic in the Fields that we Know the consequences can be unexpected. The council of Erl, with the foolhardy and adventurous nature of the young, ask their king for magic they do not realize that allowing magic to touch their lands will irrevocably change it. Prince Alveric ventures to Elfland and returns with the King of Elfland's daughter, Lirazel, to be his wife, but as a being of Faerie she cannot remain forever in the realms of mortals. After the birth of her son Orion, she is called back to Elfland, setting into motion events which lead to the slaying of the first unicron, the entrance of trolls into the Fields that we Know, and two quests for knowledge by her mortal husband and her half mortal son. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
The people come to the lord of the realm and ask him to find them a magic lord to rule them in his stead. He recognizes the foolishness of their request, but sends his son to the elvish world to find and bring back the daughter of the elf king as a wife. Things...don't go as planned. She turns out to be like any other Other Wife, unsuited and unwilling to conform to common ways. Also, the elf king isn't exactly best pleased with the arrangement. Consequences ensue.
*Sigh*
I was excited about this one. I tend to love this kind of thing, and when I read Neil Gaiman's introduction to the book, in which he practically gushes over how wonderful the story is, I couldn't wait to get into it. And then...I couldn't. Get into it, that is. It was written in 1924 but pretends to be much older, language-wise, which I found irritating. And the narrator is too far removed from the characters for my taste, which is, I realize, another old-timey quality, so kudos to Dunsany, I guess, for mastering his fake language antiquities. But I'm frustrated by my not really enjoying it, because not only Gaiman, but tons of other name brand authors absolutely love this book and I just can't see why. Gah. I have FOMO and I'm mad about it. ( )
1 vote electrascaife | Feb 20, 2021 |
  slick_schick | Jun 16, 2020 |
This is a faery tale that focuses on the story that happens after the marriage of the elf-princess with the mortal prince. Getting what you asked for isn't always a good thing. The writing is lyrical and ethereal. The story entertaining and enchanting, if occassionaly a bit slow. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
I solely read this book because of the Gaiman's introduction. It's not a bad story to be honest. The prose is lyrical and you totally understand that Lord Dunsany was a poet.

But you might be wondering, why only two stars then? Well what I strongly feel is that it would have been a very good story had it been at a length of 100 odd pages. It's the case of not knowing when to stop. It's like 'the hounds hunted the unicorn but they missed it, they hunted the unicorn but they missed it and they again hunted the unicorn but they missed it and oh now they got it'. The added blurb is not for character development. Alveric is just always on his quest. What are more details about his character, we know not. Content shouldn't be to describe clip-clop-clips of the horse hooves. They can if they bring something vital to the story to signal the impending danger or war or something like that, but not just for the sake of clip-clop-clips. Like in the case of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, despite 1000 pages not one line feels wasted.

Maybe such books were more appreciated when the book was first published, 1924, but now an abridged version fares much better in my honest opinion. ( )
1 vote ravipotter | Jul 23, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lord Dunsanyprimary authorall editionscalculated
章博, 山田Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
葵, 原Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
葵, 原Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilIntroductionsecondary authorsome 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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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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"No amount of mere description can convey more than a fraction of Lord Dunsany's pervasive charm."--H.P. Lovecraft With an introduction by Neil Gaiman The poetic style and sweeping grandeur of The King of Elfland's Daughter has made it one of the most beloved fantasy novels of our time, a masterpiece that influenced some of the greatest contemporary fantasists. The heartbreaking story of a marriage between a mortal man and an elf princess is a masterful tapestry of the fairy tale following the "happily ever after." Praise for The King of Elfland's Daughter "We find that he has but tranfigured with beauty the common sights of the world."--William Butler Yeats "I shall indeed be happy if this volume contributes to the rediscovery of one of the greatest writers of this century."--Arthur C. Clarke "Del Rey is to be thanked for bringing these works back into print. No one can understand modern fantasy without understanding its roots, and Lord Dunsany's work is immediately significant as well as enjoyable even today."--Katharine Kerr "A fantasy novel in a class with the Tolkien books."--L. Sprague de Camp

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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...
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