(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Lord Dunsany ranks as one of the best fantasy writers of the twentieth century. The fantasy stories that he produced in the beginning of his career are considered by many critics to be his greatest achievements. The incredible worlds and fantastic pantheon of gods he created influenced several people who later became famous writers in their own right. For example, Lord Dunsany had a particularly strong impact on the early career of H. P. Lovecraft. The sixteen stories contained in A Dreamer’s Tales are deemed by many critics to be among Lord Dunsany’s best and will surely continue to be enjoyed by new generations of readers.

One of the strongest aspects of Lord Dunsany’s stories is his use of lavish descriptions in creating his fantasy world. His descriptions are vividly detailed and conjure up fantastic images in the minds of readers. Some of Lord Dunsany’s best descriptions occur in “Idle Days on the Yann” as he depicts the wondrous realms encountered by the dreamer on his voyage down the long river. A terrifying example of Lord Dunsany’s descriptive ability comes in the hideous tortures carried out by Thuba Mleen in “The Hashish Man.”

Another interesting aspect of Lord Dunsany’s stories is that his tales fall into several different genres. Some of his stories are fantasies set in strange realms such as the Inner Lands of “Poltarnees, Beholder of Ocean,” the abandoned city of Bethmoora, and other wondrous...

(The entire section is 458 words.)