British peer, Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett was the 18th Baron Dunsany, whose family seat is in County Meath, northwest of Dublin. He fought in the Boer War and WWI. An excellent chess player,
Lord Dunsany drew Capablanca in a simultaneous exhibition given by the World Champion in London; his "The Three Sailors' Gambit" is considered among the best chess stories.
Dunsany was one of the harbingers of modern fantasy, along with William Morris and George
MacDonald. A successful playwright, he once had five concurrent plays running on Broadway (Five Plays).
He wrote over seventy books, many with a quill pen, others dictated to his wife, beginning in 1905 with The
Gods of Pegana, and including the very readable memoirs Patches of Sunlight and While the Sirens
Slept. In the words of the ardent admirer H.P. Lovecraft: "To the truly imaginative he is a talisman and a
key unlocking rich storehouses of dream." Such magical tales as "Idle Days on the Yann" and "A Shop in Go-by
Street" conjure idyllic realms of fantasy far away from the worries of the common world -- though they may well
have troubles of their own.
Photo: Lord Dunsany, c. 1943, Art Photo Service; frontispiece, While the Sirens Slept (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1944)
Online Texts by Lord Dunsany
- The Book of Wonder -- Dunsany's fifth collection of stories (1912, 1918) at Literature of the Fantastic (Doyle and Macdonald)
Other Dunsany Sites
Photo: Twentieth Century Authors (New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1942)
Dunsany and Chess
Chess Problem by Lord Dunsany
Composed for the London Times Literary Supplement.
Problem #2861 (Dec. 21, 1922, p. 864)
"White to play and mate in one move." (Answer below)
More chess problems composed by Lord Dunsany
- Lord Dunsany, The Collected Jorkens
(Night Shade Books, 2004, 3 vols.) Edited with Introduction by S.T. Joshi, Preface by Edward Plunkett, the 20th Baron of Dunsany, Foreword by Sir Arthur C. Clarke. A handsome, new three-volume hardcover edition brings together for the first time all of the beloved "tall tales" of Jorkens.
Order from Night Shade Books.
- Lord Dunsany, The Pleasures of a Futuroscope. Edited by S. T. Joshi
(New York: Hippocampus Press, 2003). His last major work, previously unpublished!
Order from Hippocampus Press.
- Lord Dunsany -- Master of the Anglo-Irish Imagination by S. T. Joshi. No. 64 of Contributions to the Study of Science Fiction and Fantasy (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995).
- Arthur C. Clarke and Lord Dunsany, A Correspondence 1945-56, ed. Keith Allen Daniels (Palo Alto: Anamnesis Press, 1998). Dunsany's letters, written in flowing cursive with a quill pen, are reproduced throughout the text. Order from Anamnesis Press.
Solution to Above Chess Problem
First posted: July 24, 1996
Last Updated: December 28, 2005.
Selected Authors of Supernatural Horror