The Sword of Wellerran, or Lord Dunsany Revisited

11/18/2009 § Leave a comment

A few years ago I read The Gods of Pegāna by Lord Dunsany.

I sort of had a tough time with it. It may have been because in my minds voice I pronounced it as a rhyme for vagina. This possibly contributed to the weirdness I felt after reading what turned out to be a dry, structureless, no-plot, biblical (-esque) collection of stories (or anecdotes). It is probably something more like peg-anna, but there is nobody around to tell my minds voice the correct pronunciation.

So that was problem one and two. The vagina rhyme and the dry, structureless, &tc.

Problem three is sentences like this: When Māna-Yood-Sushāi had made the gods there were only the gods, and They sat in the middle of Time, for there was as much Time before them as behind them, which having no end had neither a beginning.

And this: Time is the hound of Sish.

And countless others.

Aside from those things, I like the incomparable weirdness of Dunsany… as did Lovecraft and Tolkien. Seriously. There really is nothing like Dunsany.

It had been a while since I had first read The Gods of Pegāna in the Penguin Classics collection I own. Because of my first experience with him I have had very little inclination to pick up the collection I own since, but thanks to the horrible service of Chicago’s postal system I was in need of something until the three new books I ordered arrive at my doorstep.

Yesterday afternoon I read a story called The Sword of Wellerran. So far so good. Can’t rhyme any of those words with privates, male or female.

It is the story of an ancient city with a long history of epic battles and heroes. It begins after the heroes have died and says that the town is practically sleeping because all memory of them has turned into legend. With limited exposition Dunsany creates a harsh reality for the inhabitants of this dreaming city. It feels dirty, cold, and tired, with little to no description of the environment.

Through dreams the heroes of old rouse the folks in the town to defend their city.

It’s short and sweet. It really made me change my opinion of Dunsany.

Plus, he’s a Lord. Like, for real. Pretty awesome that someone with such a noble family line decided to create mythologies and write something that is to this day considered nerdy. He must have been super nerdy. King of the nerds. Or at least Lord of the Nerds.


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