Rare Fruit

The Book of Wonder and the Last Book of Wonder

The Book of Wonder & The Last Book of Wonder- A Book That Inspired Tolkien

By Lord Dunsany (Author)

a book that influenced jrr tolkien
Introduced by Cecilia Dart-Thornton
Illustrated by S. H. Syme. First published 1912

Lord Dunsany was a prolific fantasy short story writer whose books appeared around the turn of the 20th Century. Tolkien mentions Dunsany’s works many times in his collected letters.
Tolkien was aged twenty when The Book of Wonder, illustrated by Sidney Sime, first appeared in bookshops and libraries.

The short stories herein are Gothic in style, poetic, mysterious and dream-like - often nightmarish, horrific and almost hallucinatory.

Numerous accoutrements of fantasy are found within the realms of The Book of Wonder, as they are in Middle Earth; talismans, precious metals, jewels, horns, dark, dangerous woods infested with evil spiders and more. A red, glowing, all-seeing eye opens above Dunsany’s frightening fantasyland, just as the Eye of Sauron glares across Middle Earth.

Dale J Nelson, in Possible Echoes of Blackwood and Dunsany in Tolkien's Fantasy, concludes, ‘Tolkien’s letters and other sources for his life do not say very much about his recreational reading, but given his lifelong interest in literary fantasy and the parallels adduced above, one seems to be justified in suspecting that Tolkien was indebted to … Dunsany.’

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Product Details
  • Publication Date: Jun 01 2013

    ISBN/EAN13: 0987555464 / 9780987555465

    Page Count: 298

    Binding Type: US Trade Paper

    Trim Size: 6" x 9"

    Language: English

    Color: Black and White

    Related Categories: Fiction / Fantasy / Short Stories
More About the Creators

> Lord Dunsany on Wikipedia



Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany (24 July 1878 – 25 October 1957) was an Irish writer and dramatist, notable for his work, mostly in fantasy, published under the name Lord Dunsany. More than eighty books of his work were published, and his oeuvre includes many hundreds of published short stories, as well as successful plays, novels and essays.

The stories in his first two books, and perhaps the beginning of his third, were set within an invented world, Pegāna, with its own gods, history and geography. Starting with this book, Dunsany's name is linked to that of Sidney Sime, his chosen artist, who illustrated much of his work, notably until 1922.

More About the Illustrator
Sidney Sime


Sidney Sime (1867 – 22 May 1941, often SH Sime) was an English artist in the late Victorian and succeeding periods, mostly remembered for his fantastic and satirical artwork, especially his story illustrations for Irish author Lord Dunsany.

Sime was born in Manchester in poverty. After a five-year career in the mines, including as a "scoop pusher," work at a linen shop, a barbers, and as a signwriter (setting up in his own right), he studied at the Liverpool School of Art (later "College", then joined the University of Liverpool in 1952). During his time at college, he won a South Kensington medal. He is sometimes called "the biggest thing to come out of Liverpool before the Beatles."

Sime quickly became famous for drawings and illustrations with fantastic themes, with a presence in Pick-Me-Up, The Idler and the Pall Mall Gazette. The fantastic treatment often masked biting satire, especially aimed at the rich and at politicians.

He received an inheritance after an uncle died and bought The Idler, but the business failed in under two years.In 1904, Sime was approached by the author for whom he is most often remembered, Irish aristocrat Lord Dunsany, to illustrate his first book, The Gods of Pegana, finally published in 1905. This began an association which lasted for the rest of his life, with his illustrations especially prominent in Dunsany's earlier work (until c. 1922). For one volume, at least some of the stories were inspired by Sime works (The Book of Wonder), and for three, in special limited editions, each plate of illustration was signed by both author and artist.

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Leaves of Gold Press publishes international, premium quality fiction and non-fiction in hardcover, paperback and ebook format. Our books are printed on high grade, acid-free, book-grade, opaque paper stock sourced from responsibly managed forests. Our printers are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council™, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™. Utilizing POD technology decreases the number of returns and reduces paper waste, thereby cutting down greenhouse emissions and conserving valuable natural resources. Our books are not endorsed by or affiliated with the Tolkien Estate or Tolkien Enterprises.
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