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The King of Elfland's Daughter

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Wikipedia article




'The King of Elfland's Daughter' is a 1924 fantasy novel written by Lord Dunsany. Written before the genre was named, it is considered to be among the pioneering works of modern fantasy.Philip Raines, "[http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/nonfiction/elfland.htm review of 'The King of Elfland's Daughter']" Its importance was recognized in its later revival in paperback by Ballantine Books as the second volume of the celebrated 'Ballantine Adult Fantasy series' in June, 1969. It has also been included in a more recent series of books reprinting the best of modern fantasy, the Fantasy Masterworks series.

'The King of Elfland's Daughter' contains elements of both the (later-named) subgenres of fairytale fantasy and high fantasy.

Plot summary



The lord of Erl is told by the parliament of his people that they want to be ruled by a magic lord. Obeying the immemorial custom, the lord sends his son Alveric to fetch the King of Elfland's daughter, Lirazel, to be his bride. He makes his way to Elfland, where time passes at a rate far slower than the real world, and wins her. They return to Erl and have a son, but in the manner of fairy brides of folklore, she fits uneasily with his people. She returns to the waiting arms of her father in Elfland, and her lovesick husband goes searching for her, abandoning the kingdom of Erl and wandering in a now-hopeless quest. However, Lirazel becomes lonesome for her mortal husband and son. Seeing that she is unhappy, the King of Elfland uses a powerful magic to engulf the land of Erl. Erl is transformed into a part of Elfland, and Lirazel and her loved ones are reunited forever in an eternal, enchanted world.

During the course of the novel, the King of Elfland uses up all of the three powerful magic spells which he had been reserving for the defense of his realm.

Critical reception



Reviewing a 1999 edition, 'F&SF' reviewer Charles de Lint praised the novel as superlative. "It's not simply the beauty of the language, the astute eye for character, the hint of humor, or even the spell of legendry and wonder, but Dunsany's unique combination of all of the above. Even read today, with all the fantasy novels I've read, his work remains fresh and exuberant."[http://www.sfsite.com/fsf/2000/cdl0002.htm Books to Look For], 'F&SF', February 2000

Adaptations



Two members of Steeleye Span (Bob Johnson and Pete Knight) wrote and produced a concept album entitled 'The King of Elfland's Daughter', which was inspired by the book. The singing talents of Frankie Miller (as Alveric), Mary Hopkin (as Lirazel), P.P. Arnold (as the Witch), and Alexis Korner (as a troll) are featured on the album, and the voice of Christopher Lee as the narrator and the King of Elfland. The musicians included Nigel Pegrum, Herbie Flowers, Ray Cooper and Chris Spedding.

Footnotes





References



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Category:American fantasy novels

Category:1924 novels

Category:Novels by Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany

Category:High fantasy novels

Category:1920s fantasy novels

fr:La Fille du roi des elfes

nl:De koningsdochter van Elfenland

ru:

fi:Haltiamaan kuninkaantytr

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