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The Story of the Glittering Plain: Which Has Also Been Called The Land of Living Men

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 1

William Morris

The Story of the Glittering Plain is an 1891 fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with the element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature. His earlier fantasies The House of the Wolfings and The Roots of the Mountains were to some degree historical novels. Morris would go on to develop the new genre established in this work in such later fantasies as Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair, The Wood Beyond the World, The Well at the World's End, and The Water of the Wondrous Isles. It is also important for its exploration of the socialist themes that interested Morris.

Eric Brighteyes

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 2

H. Rider Haggard

The Saga of Eric Brighteyes is the title of an epic viking novel. It concerns the adventures of its eponymous principal character in 10th century Iceland. Eric Thorgrimursson (nicknamed 'Brighteyes' for his most notable trait), strives to win the hand of his beloved, Gudruda the Fair. Her father Asmund, a priest of the old Norse gods, opposes the match, thinking Eric a man without prospects. But deadlier by far are the intrigues of Swanhild, Gudruda's half-sister and a sorceress who desires Eric for herself. She persuades the chieftain Ospakar Blacktooth to woo Gudrida, making the two men enemies. Battles, intrigues, and treachery follow.

Fifty-One Tales

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 3

Lord Dunsany

Without doubt Lord Dunsany was one of the most influential writers of fantasy fiction in twentieth century. His fiction is an acknowledged influence on entire generations of writers, ranging from H.P. Lovecraft to James Branch Cabell, from Clark Ashton Smith to Lin Carter. Although many of his most famous stories are longer in length, the miniature portraits of Fifty-One Tales (originally published in 1915 and sometimes reprinted under the title The Food of Death) are an ideal introduction to Dunsany. Nowhere is the jewel-like quality of his prose more evident than in the short tales, seminal works which runs the gamut from whimsy to fantasy to social satire.

Table of Contents:

  • The Assignation - (1914)
  • Charon - (1910)
  • The Death of Pan - (1915)
  • The Sphinx at Gizeh - (1909)
  • The Hen - (1909)
  • Wind and Fog - (1909)
  • The Raft-Builders - (1909)
  • The Workman - (1910)
  • The Guest - (1910)
  • Death and Odysseus - (1910)
  • Death and the Orange - (1910)
  • The Prayer of the Flowers - (1909)
  • Time and the Tradesman - (1909)
  • The Little City - (1910)
  • The Unpasturable Fields - (1910)
  • The Worm and the Angel - (1910)
  • The Songless Country - (1910)
  • The Latest Thing - (1910)
  • The Demagogue and the Demi-Monde - (1913)
  • The Giant Poppy - (1910)
  • Roses - (1910)
  • The Man with the Golden Ear-rings - (1911)
  • The Dream of King Karna-Vootra - (1911)
  • The Storm - (1911)
  • A Mistaken Identity - (1910)
  • The True History of the Hare and the Tortoise - (1910)
  • Alone the Immortals - (1911)
  • A Moral Little Tale - (1915)
  • The Return of Song - (1910)
  • Spring in Town - (1911)
  • How the Enemy Came to Thlunrana? - (1910)
  • A Losing Game - (1912)
  • Taking Up Piccadilly - (1913)
  • After the Fire - (1911)
  • The City - (1913)
  • The Food of Death - (1913)
  • The Lonely Idol - (1912)
  • The Sphinx in Thebes (Massachusetts) - (1912)
  • The Reward (I) - (1915)
  • The Trouble in Leafy Green Street - (1912)
  • The Mist - (1908)
  • Furrow-Maker - (1912)
  • Lobster Salad - (1912)
  • The Return of the Exiles - (1912)
  • Nature and Time - (1913)
  • The Song of the Blackbird - (1915)
  • The Messengers - (1913)
  • The Three Tall Sons - (1913)
  • Compromise - (1913)
  • What We Have Come To - (1915)
  • The Tomb of Pan - (1910)

The Haunted Woman

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 4

David Lindsay

Engaged to a decent but unexceptional man, Isbel Lomont leads an empty life, moving with her aunt from hotel to hotel. She is perverse and prickly with untapped resources of character and sensibility. They explore by chance a strange house and there Isbel meets Judge, its owner; a profoundly disturbing relationship develops and it is from this that the drama unfolds. The conventional code of manners and morality on the surface of this book contrasts dramatically with its daring insight and intuition –almost as if it had been written by two men, just as two woman inhabit Isbel.


Forgotten Fantasy: Book 5

Sir Henry Newbolt

The story takes the form of a quest exploring in allegorical fashion the qualities of youth, duty, self and heritage. Ywain, a knight bored with his administrative duties, abandons his estate to his younger brother and goes on a pilgrimage to seek his heart's desire. Following a will-o'-the-wisp resembling a child, he is led to a hermit dwelling in the wilderness, under whose instruction he lives for a time. Afterwards his quest takes him to the city of Paladore (also the subject of a separate poem by Newbolt) and the lady Aithne, half-fae enchantress and daughter to Sir Ogier of Kerioc and the Sidhe-descended Lady Ailinn of Ireland, whom he woos and encounters on various occasions.

Golden Wings and Other Stories

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 8

William Morris


  • vii - Introduction (Golden Wings and Other Stories) - essay by Alfred Noyes
  • 1 - The Story of the Unknown Church - (1856) - short story
  • 10 - Lindenborg Pool - (1856) - short story
  • 18 - A Dream - (1856) - short story
  • 33 - Gertha's Lovers - (1856) - novelette
  • 78 - Svend and His Brethren - (1856) - short story
  • 95 - The Hollow Land - (1856) - novelette
  • 132 - Golden Wings - (1856) - short story
  • 148 - Frank's Sealed Letter - non-genre - (1856) - short story
  • 165 - Afterword (Golden Wings and Other Stories) - (1975) - essay by Richard Mathews

Heart of the World

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 10

H. Rider Haggard

Don Ignacio, the last heir of Guatemoc and the ruler of the Aztec Empire before Cortes, is bequeathed half of an emerald meant to identify him as successor to the rightful Aztec sovereign. Accompanied by his Inglese friend James Strickland, and guided by the beautiful Maya, they travel to the City of the Heart, an ancient city hidden in the mountains. Along the Way, the indian princess and the white Englishman fall in love but suffer deeply because of their feelings.

Set mostly in Central America in the 1870s, this is one of Haggard's more interesting romantic adventure novels.

The Wonderful Adventures of Phra the Phoenician

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 11

Edwin L. Arnold

A classic historical fantasy revolving around immortality and reincarnations, two themes that were dear to Edwin Lester Arnold and the writers of the late 19th Century.

Before the Roman conquest of England, a Phoenician merchant called Phra travels to the Cassiterides, (the Tinislands).

Phra dies and is reborn many times, keeping his personal identity throughout each reincarnation and adapting to the different times and places. As a Briton he is the slave-consort of his Druid wife, and a Centurion in the household of a Roman noble woman. He joins the desperate stand of King Harold against the invading Normans, and awakes again as a Saxon thane, an enshrined saint, and a knight under King Edward III, later serving Queen Elizabeth.

Along with Gullivar Jones, Phra is considered to be the inspiration for John Carter of Mars by E. R. Burroughs.

Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 12

William Morris

Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair, set in the forested land of Oakenrealm, was Morris' reimagining and recasting of the medieval Lay of Havelock the Dane, with his displaced royal heirs Christopher and Goldilind standing in for the original story's Havelock and Goldborough.

Christopher is portrayed as initially ignorant of his true identity, leading to an emotional conflict between the protagonists to reconcile their mutual love and attraction with what they believe to be the profound disparity in their social status and shame of their forced marriage. This situation is resolved when the two fall in with Jack of the Tofts, who gives refuge to Christopher after his sons rescue the hero from an assassination attempt by a servant of the usurper Earl Rolf.

Jack informs Christopher of his true station and gathers together an army to help him challenge the usurper. When the hosts meet, the commander of Rolf's forces, Baron Gandolf of Brimside, challenges Jack to single combat, but Christopher claims the honor from Jack and proves his worth by defeating the opposing champion.

In contrast to his source, Morris emphasizes the romantic aspect of the story, giving a prominent place to the heroine's misfortunes and bringing to the forefront the love story between her and the hero; the warfare by which the hero regains his heritage is relegated to a secondary role.

The Fates of the Princess of Dyfed

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 15

Kenneth Morris

A retelling of the first four tales of the Mabinogion, a cycle of Welsh myths about the early history of Britain.

The House of the Wolfings

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 16

William Morris

The House of the Wolfings is a romantically reconstructed portrait of the lives of the Germanic Gothic tribes, written in an archaic style and incorporating a large amount of poetry. Morris combines his own idealistic views with what was actually known at the time of his subjects' folkways and language. He portrays them as simple and hardworking, galvanized into heroic action to defend their families and liberty by the attacks of imperial Rome.

Morris's Goths inhabit an area called the Mark on a river in the forest of Mirkwood, divided into the Upper-mark, the Mid-mark and the Nether-mark. They worship their gods Odin and Tyr by sacrificing horses, and rely on seers who foretell the future and serve as psychic news-gatherers.

The men of the Mark choose two War Dukes to lead them against their enemies, one each from the House of the Wolfings and the House of the Laxings. The Wolfing war leader is Thiodolf, a man of mysterious and perhaps divine antecedents, whose ability to lead is threatened by his possession of a magnificent dwarf-made mail-shirt which, unknown to him, is cursed. He is supported by his lover the Wood Sun and their daughter the Hall Sun, who are related to the gods.

Under the Sunset

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 17

Bram Stoker


  • Under the Sunset - short story
  • The Rose Prince - novelette
  • The Invisible Giant - short story
  • The Shadow Builder - novelette
  • How 7 Went Mad - short story
  • Lies and Lilies - short story
  • The Castle of the King - short story
  • The Wondrous Child - novelette

The Roots of the Mountains

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 19

William Morris

The story is set in Burgdale, a small Germanic settlement in a valley at the foot of a mountain range, and the neighbouring woodlands, pastures and dales. The area is inhabited by the interdependent Dalemen, who are weavers, smiths, and traders, the Woodlanders, who are hunters and carpenters, and the Shepherds. Their society is challenged by disruptions from the outside world in the form of the Sons of the Wolf, the descendants of the Wolfings, and the invading Dusky Men (the Huns).

The Sons of the Wolf, driven from their original country by the Dusky Men, continue to resist the invaders as a frontier force guarding their new home. The somewhat troubled integration of the Sons of the Wolf into the society they are protecting is told in the story of five lovers representing both peoples, four of whom eventually marry.

Nada the Lily

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 20

H. Rider Haggard

Nada the Lily is set at the time of Chaka, the Zulu king, around whom much of the action turns, but essentially the book is the story of Umslopogaas, and of "his love for Nada, the most beautiful of Zulu women." They have been brought up as brother and sister but Umslopogaas is really Chaka's son. It is narrated by Mopo the father of Nada and witch doctor to Chaka, whom Chaka had vowed never to slay because he saved the life of Chaka and his mother when they were outcast wanderers.

During the course of the novel Umslopogaas teams up with Galazi the Wolf, who lives on Ghost Mountain and has power over a spectral wolf pack. The story ends tragically when Nada, fleeing the wrath of Dingaan following the assassination of Chaka, takes refuge in a cave on the mountain. Galazi dies in her defence but the cave proves her tomb as she is unable to open the stone door she closed behind her.

Jaufry the Knight and the Fair Brunissende: A Tale of the Times of King Arthur

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 21

Jean Bernard Mary-Lafon

Now of a tale of chivalry, of proper fashion, great allurement, full of-wise and courteous instances, and wherein abound acts of great prowess, strange adventures, assaults, encounters, and dread battles, you may list the telling. An it amuse you, I will relate thereof all that I do know, or that it please you to give ear unto. Let me know only that which ye desire, and if ye be inclined to listen in good sooth. When the minstrel doth indeed recite, neither should hearers buy nor sell, nor in low voice hold council; for thus the recital is lost to him who speaketh, and they methinks who listen cannot find therein great pleasure.

I come, then, to recount to you tidings of the court of good King Arthur; he who was so worthy, so valiant, and so wise, that his name shall never die, but whereof shall eternally be spoken the mighty things he did; and the good knights, all for their prowess known, whom he did gather at his famed Round Table. In that court, the fairest and most loyal that ever shone beneath the stars, all men did find that counsel and that aid of which they stood in need. There triumphed right, and there were wrongs redressed.

There dames and damsels, widows and orphans attacked unjustly, or disinherited by force, ne'er failed to meet with champions. The oppressed of all conditions there did find a refuge, and none e'er sought protection there in vain. Give, then, sweet welcome to a poem the fruit of such good place, and deign to listen unto it in peace.

The Spirit of Bambatse

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 22

H. Rider Haggard

In an adventure mingling romance and the supernatural, the clairvoyant heroine Benita assists in a hunt for a lost Portuguese treasure buried in the Transvaal.

When the Birds Fly South

Forgotten Fantasy: Book 23

Stanton A. Coblentz

Dan Prescott, an American adventurer, discovers the hidden valley of Sobul in a mountainous region of Afghanistan, inhabited by a strange race of winged people known as the "Ibandru". He falls in love with one of them, Yasma, and they marry in a scene of general celebration. When fall comes, however, the Ibandru abandon their valley to fly south with the birds for the winter. Unable to bear the loss of Yasma, Prescott pleads with her to remain with him rather than participate in the traditional migration, with tragic consequences for his marriage.