Rereading: TIME AND THE GODS by Lord Dunsany

My worn and stained first edition.
First tipped in plate by Sidney H. Sime.

Dunsany’s first book of short stories, “The Gods of Pegana,” did well, and this was his second, first published in 1906. Here, the gods generally step back a bit in favor of their servant, Time, who appears in several stories, as well as prophets, kings, and other men. The author continues to experiment with story lengths and types, with the final story in this book being quite long. He’s also growing as a writer, finding more interesting plots and structures, and imbuing his tales with creative imagery and sly humor, as in the story of a poor lame shepherd who is mistaken for a god and finds himself with a new life of immense luxury. One of the strongest images is in a tale of a king who decides to find and defeat Time. He and his army do track down the elusive creature in his castle on a high hill, and the king leads a charge, but Time hurls years at them until they are too old to climb the hill. I enjoyed rereading these stories. The illustrations by Sidney Sime are as impressive as in the first book, but perhaps to save money they’re photographically reproduced with a dot screen rather than the photoengraving process used for “The Gods of Pegana.” Details are therefore lost, but the plates are still appealing and help evoke a sense of wonder. Recommended, and easy to find now as an e-book, though I don’t know about the illustrations.

Time and the Gods by Lord Dunsany

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