Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron Dunsany

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Edward Plunkett, Lord Dunsany

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron Dunsany (born July 24, 1878 in London , † October 25, 1957 in Dublin ) was an Irish writer . Today he is best known under the name Lord Dunsany for his short stories attributed to fantasy .


He was the eldest of three sons of John Plunkett, 17th Baron Dunsany by his marriage to Ernle Burton. When his father died in 1899, he inherited his Irish title of nobility as Baron Dunsany . His next younger brother was the Admiral Sir Reginald Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax .

One of Lord Dunsany's ancestors was the Archbishop of Armagh , Oliver Plunkett, canonized by the Roman Catholic Church . The Countess of Fingall, wife of Lord Dunsany's cousin, the Earl of Fingall, wrote a widely read description of the life of the nobility in Ireland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, entitled Seventy Years Young .

For his education Lord Dunsany attended Eton College and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst . He served as an officer in the Coldstream Guards in the Second Boer War in South Africa and with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in World War I and achieved the rank of Captain . He was a good cricketer and became the Irish pistol master .

Lord Dunsany was also a good chess player , for example he was able to achieve a draw in 1929 at a simultaneous event against ex-world champion José Raúl Capablanca . He was particularly dedicated to problem chess, he left numerous chess problems . In 1942 he invented his chess variant Dunsany’s Game , in which the 16 stones of one of the players were replaced by 32 pawns.

His love for lion hunting inspired him to write his few autobiographical works. Dunsany was generally considered an eccentric , and it is alleged that he wrote his lyrics with a goose feather. He commented on his work as follows:

I never write about things I've seen, only the things I've dreamed of. "

From his marriage in 1904 to Lady Beatrice Child-Villiers, daughter of Victor Child-Villiers, 7th Earl of Jersey , he left a son and heir, Randal Plunkett, 19th Baron Dunsany .


Lord Dunsany wrote mostly short stories , but also poetry , dramas and novels . The stories from the field of fantasy that are still known today were created between 1905 and 1919. They are set in a separate world, Pegana , with its own mythology and history, and are today considered a milestone in fantastic literature.

HP Lovecraft was impressed with Dunsany; his early accounts show Dunsany's influence. The “dream world” devised by Lovecraft is also strongly influenced by Dunsany's works. Fletcher Pratt's novel The Well of the Unicorn (1948) was created as a sequel to Dunsany's play King Argimenes and the Unknown Warrior .

The most important fantasy works:

  • The Gods of Pegana (1905)
  • Time and the Gods (1906)
  • The Sword of Welleran (1908)
  • A Dreamer's Tales (1910)
  • The Book of Wonder (1912)
  • Fifty-one Tales (1915)
  • Tales of Wonder (1916), in America as The Last Book of Wonder published
  • Tales of Three Hemispheres (1919)
  • The Man Who Ate the Phoenix (1947)

In addition, you can also assign some of his novels to fantasy:

  • The Chronicles of Rodriguez or Don Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley (1922)
  • The King of Elfland's Daughter (1924)
  • The Charwoman's Shadow (1924)
  • The Blessing of Pan (1927)
  • The Curse of the Wise Woman (1935)
  • Up in the Hills (1935)
  • My Talks with Dean Spanley (1936)
  • Rory and Bran (1936)
  • The Story of Mona Sheehy (1939)
  • Guerrilla (1944)
  • The Strange Journeys of Colonel Polders (1950)
  • The Last Revolution (1951)
  • His Fellow Men (1952)

Another collection of stories revolves around Jorkens , an English gentleman, in whose circle in the club extraordinary stories are told.

  • The Travel Tales of Mr Joseph Jorkens (1931)
  • Jorkens remembers Africa (1934)
  • Jorkens has a Large Whiskey (1940)
  • The Fourth Book of Jorkens (1948)
  • Jorkens Borrows Another Whiskey (1954)

Smethers, a sales representative, reports in

  • The Little Tales of Smethers (1952)

of macabre incidents, some of which have been translated into German murder stories told by Smetters . The most famous of these stories is two bottles of seasoning ( The Two Bottles of Relish ).

Also from Lord Dunsany's pen there are some plays which are given below with premiere locations (if known).

  • The Glittering Gate (1909, Abbey Theater, Dublin )
  • The Tents of the Arabs (1910)
  • The Laughter of the Gods (1910)
  • King Argimenes and the Unknown Warrior (1910 or 1911)
  • The Queen's Enemies
  • A Night at the Inn (1911)
  • The Gods of the Mountain (1911, Haymarket Theater, London )

They were published as

  • Five Plays (1914): The Gods of the Mountain , The Golden Doom , King Argimenes and the Unknown Warrior , The Glittering Gate , and The Lost Silk Hat .
  • Plays of God and Men (1917): The Tents of the Arabs , The Laughter of the Gods , The Queen's Enemies and A Night at the Inn .
  • Plays of Near and Far (1922): If , The Compromise of the KIng of the Golden Isles , The Flight of the Queen , Cheezo , A Good Bargain , If Shakespeare Lived To-Day and Fame and the Poet .
  • Alexander and Three small plays (1925): Alexander , The Old King's Tale , The Evil Kettle and The Amusement of Khan Kharuda .
  • Seven Modern Comedies (1927): Atalanta in Wimbledon , The Raffle , The Journey of the Soul , In Holy Russia , His Sainted Grandmother , The Hopeless Passion of Mr. Bunyon and The Jest of Hahalaba .
  • The Old Folk of the Centuries (1930)
  • Lord Adrian (1933)
  • Mr. Faithful (1935)
  • Plays for Earth and Air (1937): Fame Comes Late , A Matter of Honor , Mr. Sliggen's Hour , The Pumpkin , The Use of Man , The Bureau de Change , The Seventh Symphony , Golden Dragon City , Time's Joke and Atmospherics .
Poetic works
  • Fifty Poems (1929)
  • Mirage Water (1938)
  • War Poems (a muddle, printed while we were abroad) (1941)
  • A Journey (1943)
  • Wandering Songs (1943)
  • The Year (1946)
  • The Odes of Horace (1947) (Translation)
  • To Awaken Pegasus (1949)
  • Verses Dedicatory: 18 Previously Unpublished Poems (1985, posthumous )
More story collections
  • Tales of War (1918)
  • Unhappy Far-Off Things (1919)
  • Ghosts of the Heavyside Layer and Other Fantasmas (1980, posthumous)
  • Nowadays (1918)
  • Building a Sentence (1934)
  • My Ireland (1937)
  • The Donellan Lectures 1943 (1945)
  • A Glimpse from the Watchtower (1946)
  • If I Were Dictator (The Pronouncement of the Fraud Macaroni) (1934)
  • Patches of Sunlight (1938)
  • While the Sirens Slept (1944)
  • The Sirens Wake (1945)
  • The land of Yann. Stories. With a foreword by Jorge Luis Borges . Translation by Friedrich Polakovics . In: The Library of Babel. Vol. 8. Gutenberg Book Guild, Frankfurt a. M. 2007. ISBN 978-3-7632-5808-6 . Original title: Idle days on the Yann.
  • The window to the other world. Fantastic stories. Translation by Friedrich Polakovics. In: Library of the House of Usher. Insel, Frankfurt a. M. 1971. New edition: Suhrkamp TB 1189. ISBN 3-518-37689-6 .
  • Jorkens borrows a whiskey. Ten club stories. Diogenes, Zurich 1957. New edition 1979. ISBN 3-257-20598-8 .
  • The king's daughter from Elfenland. Translation by Hans Wollschläger . Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1978. ISBN 3-12-901880-8 .
  • Smetters tells murder stories. 15 lies and crime stories about Jorkens and Smetter. Translation by Elisabeth Schnack. With drawings by Paul Flora . Diogenes, Zurich 1972. ISBN 3-257-00160-6
  • The shadow of the scrub maid. Translation by Wolfgang Krege . Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1986. ISBN 3-608-95308-6 . Original title: The charwoman's shadow.
  • The curse of the wise woman. Translation by Meieli and Walther Grossenbacher. Hallwag, Bern 1947.
  • Soul on the gallows. A book of people, gods and spirits. Translation by Emerich Reeck. Ruetten & Loening, Frankfurt a. M. 1924.


Web links

Commons : Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron Dunsany  - Collection of Pictures, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ David Pritchard: The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants . Games & Puzzles Publications, 1994, ISBN 0-9524142-0-1 .
  2. See HP Lovecraft: Lord Dunsany and his work . In: ders. Et al .: Azathoth . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt a. M. 1989, p. 300 and passport.
predecessor Office successor
John Plunkett Baron Dunsany
Randal Plunkett