Friday, June 8, 2012

Lord Dunsany, “How Nuth Would Have Practiced his Art Upon the Gnoles,” 1912

Lord Dunsany

"The trees themselves were a warning, and did not wear the wholesome look of those that we plant ourselves."
         Lord Dunsany, “How Nuth Would Have Practiced His Art Upon the Gnoles”

Sixth story in The Weird. Again with the trees.

Dunsany's work still seems for fantasy than weird to me. "Nuth" is almost fairy tale like in its imagery. The weird aspects here are reflected through sudden jumps in settings, like turning the pages of a picture book and finding completely anachronistic images on every new page.

So what might be the difference between fantastic and weird? I need more than a short blog post to get into that. Suffice to say that Dunsany's story only gets a Weird Factor of 2/5 because I felt more enveloped by imagery than atmosphere. I probably need to spend more time with his work on on the whole. ...And now that I think of it, a scuttling fairy is pretty creepy.

Reviewed from The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, Eds. Anne and Jeff Vandermeer


brandon h bell said...

The King of Elfland's Daughter is a very satisfying read that holds up well for the modern reader. Lud-in-the-Mist is probably a bit easier, where The Worm O{I won't try to spell the name without coffee in my system} I'm still trying to get into. I wanted to like Nuth because of how much I love tKoED, but as a weird tale I found it slight.

Lynne Jamneck said...

I absoloutely have to read The King of Elfland's Daughter. 'm not familiar with Lud-in-the-Mist, so thanks for directing me that way.

I think Dunsany's writing is very compressed, in the sense that he says a lot (or tries to) in very short pieces of actual writing. Maybe that's part of why I find some of his writing unsatisfying, or hard to access.