Adventures in Unhistory: Conjectures on the Factual Foundations of Several Ancient Legends [NOOK Book]


* Where did Sinbad Sail?
* ...
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Adventures in Unhistory: Conjectures on the Factual Foundations of Several Ancient Legends

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* Where did Sinbad Sail?
* Who Fired the Phoenix?
* The Boy Who Cried Werewolf
* The Great Rough Beast
* Postscript on Prester John
* The Secret of Hyperborea
* What Gave All Those Mammoths Cold Feet?
And many more--fictional? authoritative? fantastic? deadpan?--investigations into the real, the true…and the things that should be true
"Although the wombat is real and the dragon is not, nobody knows what a wombat looks like and everyone knows what a dragon looks like."
Not a novel, not a book of short stories, Adventures in Unhistory is a book of the fantastic--a compendium of magisterial examinations of Mermaids, Mandrakes, and Mammoths; Dragons, Werewolves, and Unicorns; the Phoenix and the Roc; about places such as Sicily, Siberia, and the Moon; about heroic, sinister, and legendary persons such as Sindbad, and Aleister Crowley, and Prester John; and--revealed at last--the Secret of Hyperborea.
The facts are here, the foundations behind rumors, legends, and the imaginations of generations of tale-spinners. But far from being dry recitals, these meditations, or lectures, or deadpan prose performances are as lively, as crazily inventive, as witty as the best fiction of the author, a writer praised by Gardner Dozois as "one of the great short story writers of our times."
Who, on the subject of Dragons, could write coldly, dispassionately, guided only by logic?  Certainly not Avram Davidson. Certain facts, these facts, deserve more than recitation; they deserve flourish, verve, gusto, style--the late, great Avram Davidson's unique voice.  That prose which, in the words of Peter S. Beagle's Preface to this volume, "cries out to be read aloud."

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Released in 1993 near the time of his death, Davidson's volume offers his take on the factual-or possibly factual-basis of mermaids, mandrakes, dragons, mammoths, werewolves, unicorns, and other denizens of the fantastic. This edition sports an introduction by top fantasy scribe Peter S. Beagle and small illustrations throughout. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School
This collection of short essays is a real treasure. Davidson explains the origins of 15 myths, including werewolves, dragons, mermaids, unicorns, where Sinbad actually sailed, and the phoenix. He agrees with Kipling, whom he quotes as noting: "There are nine and sixty ways/Of constructing tribal lays/And every single one of them is right!" Kipling is just one of the many authors, historians, and philosophers to whom the well-read and eclectic Davidson turns to support the suppositions he himself posits about the "true" origins of each myth. He sometimes pits classic explainers against one another, as in the essay explaining the root of lycanthropy: one could find it in "Bulfinch's Mythology, but Rabelais is more fun." Each aside and every digression offer another path to follow or connection to make. The author's narrative prose itself invites sharing aloud, serving as a great model for student writers. Not only is this a wonderful resource for information on myths and legends, but it also comes with the bonuses of real literary adventures and some of the most entertaining nonfiction writing in the realm of popular culture.
—Dana Cobern-KullmanCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"A king's ransom of short fiction from one of America's least-known masters of the form…These stories are as important and vital as those by Updike and Cheever."

Des Moines Register on The Avram Davidson Treasury

"Not merely a treasury, it's a genuine treasure. Some of its pages will carry you away to strange seas and shores, others will show you the marvellous within the seemingly ordinary, and just about all of them will take your breath away. But that's what magicians do."

—The Washington Post Book World on The Avram Davidson Treasury

"Of all writers (except, perhaps, Kipling), the most likely to insert the marvellous into the everyday."

—Guy Davenport on Avram Davidson

"One of the finest short-story writers ever to use the English language."

—Robert Silverberg on Avram Davidson

"Avram Davidson may have been one of the great short story writers of our times, in or out of the fantasy/science fiction genre."

—Gardner Dozois on Avram Davidson

"Davidson was beyond question one of the unjustly neglected writers of the 20th century, an author of immense talent."

—Gene Wolfe on Avram Davidson

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466838130
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,324,175
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Avram Davidson was born in Yonkers, New York, in 1923. After spending some time at New York University, he served in the Marines from 1942 till 1946--and again saw action during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. For two years in the early 1960s, Davidson edited The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. He earned awards and accolades throughout his life for his SF writing, including the Hugo Award, the Edgar Award, the Ellery Queen Award, and three World Fantasy Awards. Davidson died in 1993.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    For Fantasy lovers

    This is a reprint of a book released in 1993 just before the author died. In it Mr. Davidson provides fifteen essays on a variety of mythological and supernatural characters in which he uses what is considered fact supplemented by conjecture to explain the legends of dragons, Sinbad as well as werewolves, and unicorns, etc. Each entry is written to excite the reader who learns what led to the formation of a particular legend to include who Aleister Crowley, and what is the Secret of Hyperborea. Tis work is well written with terrific small black and white illustrations by George Barr that enhance the text and these fifteen discussions feel more like short stories than ancient historical treatises. Fantasy fans will find this delightful charming collection fascinating as the audience will agree with Mr. Davidson assertion that a wombat is real and a dragon is not but people can describe a dragon how many can describe a wombat?----------- Harriet Klausner

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