Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany (24 July 187825 October 1957) was an Anglo-Irish writer and dramatist, notable for his work in fantasy published under the name Lord Dunsany. He was born to one of the oldest titles in the Irish peerage, lived much of his life at perhaps Ireland's longest-inhabited home, Dunsany Castle near Tara, and died in Dublin. Borges also, in his essay "Kafka and His Precursors," included Dunsany's story "Carcassonne" as one of the texts that presaged, or paralleled, Kafka's themes.

Writers influenced by Dunsany

  • H. P. Lovecraft was greatly impressed by Dunsany after seeing him on a speaking tour of the United States, and Lovecraft's 'Dream-Cycle' stories clearly show his influence. Lovecraft once wrote, "There are my 'Poe' pieces and my 'Dunsany' pieces — but alas — where are my Lovecraft pieces?"
  • Neil Gaiman has expressed admiration for Dunsany, and written an introduction to a collection of his stories. Some commentary has reflected links between The King of Elfland's Daughter and Gaiman's Stardust (book and film), as did a comment by Gaiman, quoted in the "Neil Gaiman Reader."
  • Jorge Luis Borges included Dunsany's short story Idle Days on the Yann as the twenty-seventh title in The Library of Babel, a collection of works Borges collected and provided forewords to (not to be confused with his short story of the same name, "The Library of Babel").
  • Arthur C. Clarke enjoyed Dunsany's work and corresponded with him between 1944 and 1956. Those letters are collected in the book Arthur C. Clarke & Lord Dunsany: A Correspondence. Clarke also edited and allowed the use of an early essay as an introduction to one volume of The Collected Jorkens and that essay acknowledges the link between Jorkens and Tales from the White Hart.
  • Peter S. Beagle also cites Dunsany as an influence, and wrote an introduction for one of the recent reprint editions.
  • David Eddings has named Lord Dunsany as his personal favourite writer, and recommended aspiring authors to sample him.
  • Gene Wolfe, who also used one of Dunsany's poems to open his bestselling 2004 work, "The Knight."
  • Fletcher Pratt's 1948 novel The Well of the Unicorn was written as a sequel to Dunsany's play King Argimenes and the Unknown Warrior.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin, in her essay on style in fantasy "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie," wryly referred to Lord Dunsany as the "First Terrible Fate that Awaiteth Unwary Beginners in Fantasy," alluding to the (at the time) very common practice of young writers attempting to write in Lord Dunsany's style.
  • Welleran Poltarnees, an author of numerous non-fantasy "blessing books" employing turn-of-the-century artwork, is a pen name based on two of Lord Dunsany's most famous stories.

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