Other Literary Forms
Lord Dunsany did not limit himself to a particular literary format; his prolific output consisted of novels, short stories, poems, translations, extensive periodical publication, and a wide range of literary and social criticism presented as lectures. Although his drama is historically significant, he is best remembered for his short tales and stories, which are still available in various reprints and anthologies. In these works, his fertile imagination best combined with a natural style to produce an appropriate single effect. Dunsany made little attempt to develop character or to probe the nuances of an individual mind. Instead, he created self-contained mythological worlds that depend on plot and highly stylized language to move the action to its inevitable conclusion. Dunsany’s novels suffer from an excess of invention without a firm grounding in reality or psychological depth; as a remarkable curiosity of verbal ingenuity and fantasy, however, The King of Elfland’s Daughter (1924) remains a classic. The critical reception of his poetry has been kind, but his work in this genre has never been considered anything but minor. Distinguished by an enviable range of interest in all aspects of art, Dunsany believed that the task of the artist is to create or reveal beauty; for him, the beauty evoked by the written word could be expressed in any form.