The House of the Wolfings

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Wildside Press, Mar 1, 2002 - Fiction - 228 pages
3 Reviews
The first of William Morris's great fantastic romances is a translation of the old Norse saga, The House of the Wolfings. Of this tale, The Encyclodedia of Fantasy wrote: "The first step toward the characteristic large-scale fantasies which have had such influence on the genre . . . is The House of the Wolfings. Here the setting is quasi-historical: a European Saxon community is resisting the decadent advances of late Imperial Rome. The romantic-supernatural story contains a large admixture of verse." Indeed, Morris's chief contribution to the book is his beautiful prose and poetry, for his version of the story is actually a collaboration with Norse scholar Eirikr Magnusson, who provided a literal translation of the original text, which Morris then reset as prose and poetry. Morris's version of The House of the Wolfings has influenced generations of writers, including J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and countless hundreds more.

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User Review  - jen.e.moore - LibraryThing

Disappointingly, I found this fairly boring on the whole (war stories just don't do it for me) but interesting in the context that Tolkien referred to this book specifically as an inspiration, and you can really see that in a lot of places. Read full review

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User Review  - Loptsson - LibraryThing

An idealized account of the lives of the Germanic Gothic tribes. It is very engrossing if you can get yourself into the flow of the story, very poetic. I really enjoyed it but I feel that many today ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Morris was the Victorian Age's model of the Renaissance man. Arrested in 1885 for preaching socialism on a London street corner (he was head of the Hammersmith Socialist League and editor of its paper, The Commonweal, at the time), he was called before a magistrate and asked for identification. He modestly described himself upon publication (1868--70) as "Author of "The Earthly Paradise,' pretty well known, I think, throughout Europe." He might have added that he was also the head of Morris and Company, makers of fine furniture, carpets, wallpapers, stained glass, and other crafts; founder of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings; and founder, as well as chief designer, for the Kelmscott Press, which set a standard for fine book design that has carried through to the present. His connection to design is significant. Morris and Company, for example, did much to revolutionize the art of house decoration and furniture in England. Morris's literary productions spanned the spectrum of styles and subjects. He began under the influence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti with a Pre-Raphaelite volume called The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems (1858); he turned to narrative verse, first in the pastoral mode ("The Earthly Paradise") and then under the influence of the Scandinavian sagas ("Sigurd the Volsung"). After "Sigurd," his masterpiece, Morris devoted himself for a time exclusively to social and political affairs, becoming known as a master of the public address; then, during the last decade of his life, he fused these two concerns in a series of socialist romances, the most famous of which is News from Nowhere (1891).

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