Visions of Lord Dunsany–a Dreamland   2 comments


In the previous blog, I showed you all some maps that I drew long long ago.  I disovered the notes that follow below–clearly my inspiration for this map:

There are at least 23 notable locations on this map. See if you can match them to the list below.

Although I made these notes and this map more than 40 years ago, what I have here are short snippets that I wrote down from the various stories of Lord Dunsany.  The prose has to be his.  Neither I, nor any other living human being writes like this.  His visions seem inspired by all the fantastic lore and mythology of the world. 

I had a wild idea of tracking down all these different references, because references they are to older poems, tales, and myths.  I started to do that, and realized that it would be work for a season or longer.  The Black Lake whose waters cause forgetfulness seems to be a reference to the River Lethe, which in Greek mythology caused forgetfulness.  The lake so dark that its waters reflect the stars even by daylight is an idea picked up by J.R.R. Tolkien, and it is encountered on the borders of Lothlorien–a pool between Moria–the underground Dwarven realm that fell to the forces of darkness, and the beautiful homeland of the Elves.

You see how easy it is to go off on flights of fancy with these names and quotes.  I’m not going to do it.  I could be writing and free associating for weeks trying to explain all the wonders that are part of Dunsany’s Dreamland.  They are also part of my dreamland, but only when I’m conscious.  I regret to say that my dreams are nowhere near this vivid and entertaining when I’m actually asleep.

The Geography of Dreamland–visions of Lord Dunsany

1.  in a desert land renowned for weirdness and mystery, the Black Lake, whose waters bring forgetfulness and which reflects the stars even by day.

2.  tall mountains beyond which lie peaceful valleys.

3.  lost legendary palaces of serpentine, silver, and ebony, whose columns are green stalactites.

4.  pillars of fallen temples, standing in the vast purpureal sunset of a land of lost and forgotten romance

wouldn't you like to go exploring here?


5.  dark-green cedar forests beside brilliant blue tropical oceans, palm and coral isles.

6.  the land of Taprobane

7.  strange hidden cities of the desert, with burning brazen domes and slender pinnacles of gold and copper that pierce a heaven of heated lazuli

8.  the Memnons of the Night–mountains carved into the forms of grotesque, awe-inspiring Collossi

These huge old Egyptian statues at Luxor inspired both Clark Ashton Smith and Lord Dunsay to transform them into whole mountains.


9.  a flower-covered tomb in a fantastic garden, but worms crawl there

10. Cocaigne–a land of sexual ecstasy

11.  the sunless land where dream-clouded people dwell somnambulistically among their own tombs

12. Hyperborea–the paradise of the north

13. the land of Illarion

14. the Forbidden Forest–to enter it brings dreams and death

15. the Desert of Soom at the world’s unchartable extreme whose dangers cannot daunt love

16. the City of Morm with its temple to Amanon with the images of iron and bronze

17. the ancient city of Toomal with its catacombs and tombs

In Toomal there are catacombs and tombs

18. the cities of Thebais and Elephantine where lamias are sometimes welcome.

19. Sadastor, a land of salt deserts and cyclopean volcanoes with one last pool in which lurks a broken-hearted siren who must die when her pool is gone

20. sub-sea cities where only ghosts and fishes go

21. Mandrikor–a dying city where lichens creep on crumbled fanes among dried-up seas and barren sands

22. Shadowland, on the edge of the world–the purple lands within it.

23.  Ispahan, a rich and mighty nation in the east, bearded warriors and willing maidens


I inserted a few pictures above to brighten up this dusty list.  I bet one could find an illustration for everyone of these ideas.  I found three.  It’s up to you readers to find the rest, or visualize them for yourselves.  At least, thanks to my map, you know approximately where to find them in relationship to each other should you ever venture into this particular Dreamland.


Posted December 7, 2010 by atroll in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Visions of Lord Dunsany–a Dreamland

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  1. Neat stuff, Ken. 😀

  2. I love Dunsany so much. Currently a close second to Eddison among my favorite fantasy writers.

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