The Worm Ouroboros [ By: Eric Rücker Eddison ]

The Worm Ouroboros [ By: Eric Rücker Eddison ]

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by Eric Rucker Eddison
     
 

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The Worm Ouroboros [1922]

Research done by Paul Edmund Thomas (who wrote an introduction to the 1991 Dell edition) shows that Eddison started imagining the stories which would turn into The Worm Ouroboros at a very early age. An exercise book titled The Book of Drawings dated 1892 and created by Eddison is to be found at the Bodleian Library. In this book are

Overview

The Worm Ouroboros [1922]

Research done by Paul Edmund Thomas (who wrote an introduction to the 1991 Dell edition) shows that Eddison started imagining the stories which would turn into The Worm Ouroboros at a very early age. An exercise book titled The Book of Drawings dated 1892 and created by Eddison is to be found at the Bodleian Library. In this book are 59 drawings in pencil, captioned by the author, containing many of the heroes and villains of the later work. Some of the drawings, such as The murder of Gallandus by Corsus and Lord Brandoch Daha challenging Lord Corund, depict events of Ouroboros.

As might be expected, significant differences exist between the ideas of a 10-year-old boy and the work of a 40-year-old man. Perhaps the most interesting change is the change in Lord Gro's character. In the drawings Lord Gro is a hero of skill and courage, while in the book he is a conflicted character, never able to pick a side and stick to it. Another curious change is that Goldry Bluszco is the main hero of the drawings, but off-stage in an enchanted prison for most of the novel.

Many people (including Tolkien) have wondered at and criticized Eddison's curious names for his characters (e.g. La Fireez, Fax Fay Faz), places and nations. According to Thomas, the answer appears to be that these names originated in the mind of a young boy, and Eddison could not, or would not, change them thirty years later when he wrote the stories down. The book was illustrated by Keith Henderson (1883 - 1982), who also illustrated books by Geoffrey Chaucer and W.H. Hudson

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012256829
Publisher:
Publish This, LLC
Publication date:
07/21/1977
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
481 KB

Meet the Author

Eric Rucker Eddison, 1882-1945

English author, best known for his early romance The Worm Ouroboros [1922] and his three volumes set in the imaginary world Zimiamvia, known as the Zimiamvian Trilogy: Mistress of Mistresses [1935], A Fish Dinner in Memison [1941], and The Mezentian Gate [1958].

These early works of high fantasy drew strong praise from J. R. R. Tolkien (see especially Letter 199 in the collected letters), C. S. Lewis (see the Tribute to E. R. Eddison in On Stories and Other Essays on Literature), and Ursula Le Guin (see the essay "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie" in The Language of the Night). Privately Tolkien found the underlying philosophy rebarbative, and clashed with Eddison at their sole meeting, while he in return thought Tolkien's views "soft". The books are written in a meticulously recreated Jacobean prose style, seeded throughout with fragments, often acknowledged but often frankly stolen, from his favorite authors and genres: Homer and Sappho, Shakespeare and Webster, Norse Saga and French medieval lyric.

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The Worm Ouroboros (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A few days ago I picked up this new edition of 'The Worm Ouroboros' at the local Barnes & Noble. I had read the novel three times before, having first read it about thirty years ago. I began just by reading the introduction, but soon I was rereading the book itself--and I am enjoying it immensely, even more than I have enjoyed it before. Eddison's style is amazingly rich and powerful. Overall, the novel is the quintessence of High Romanticism, with larger-than-life characters, a world-sweeping plot, and (again) language that recalls Shakespeare's and Marlowe's windy periods. There are a host of magnificent scenes: for example, the chapter concerning the three armies chasing one another in a charmed circle through the wastes of Impland the siege of Eshgrar Ogo the ascent of Koshtra Pivrarcha. But every passage has delightful, sinewy turns of language. This is one of the great works of the twentieth century, and it's unfortunate that it is not better known. I congratulate Barnes & Noble for republishing it in this handsome edition.
The_Searcher More than 1 year ago
This is touted as the book that created the literary genre of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I believe it was written in the 1920's by British author E.R. Eddison. It is a fine story but a bit hard to follow at times because of the combined use of heroic Norse and Elizabethan language which is to say the choice is an attempt to place the story in an ancient setting but somewhere in the far reaches of the cosmos. It was hard to read at first and tires one easily by trying to understand if one understood. Once accustomed to the language the story was well told about ancient warriors both good and bad. It relates the tale of their quarrels and the reason thereof. The men were brave, strong and honest if they were the good guys of Demonland, and the bad guys were also brave and strong but followed the evil King Gorice of Witchland. All the women were lovely and key to the story. When a woman becomes central in the narrative something interesting is about to unfold. In this mythical land of Goblinland versus Witchland and other realms the description of the setting adds to the drama by painting a very interesting visualization. The narrator speaks of wondrous jewels used freely in every instance of interiors, clothing and jewelry but all are gems of this world. The actual landscape is somewhat disappointing as it is strategically designed for battle and defense; not for prosaic beauty or sweet whimsy. Caught in the middle are all the other kingdoms taking sides and tilting the battle this way then that so it was never clear which side would eventually be victorious. I liked the unpredictability, the cunning, and the surprises along the way. The author did not dwell in great detail in the escapes and solutions but moves quickly on to the next scenario so the pace was quick. Sure, good versus evil and good always wins. Or does it? The ending sure surprised me and I have not yet read a story that ended thus. While a bit hard to follow in the beginning it is a good read, and I miss the language that was so much a part of the story.
Joel_M More than 1 year ago
This novel by one of the "grandfathers of fantasy" feels rather like a Scandinavian saga written in faux Elizabethan English with occasional bits of Greek mythology thrown in for good measure. The plot follows the conflict between the noble military-superpower nation of Demonland and the treacherous, imperialistic Witchland. The world is alternately stated to be either "the planet Mercury" or "Middle Earth" and has a definite "swords and sorcery" feel to it with the emphasis on swords. Both Tolkien and Lewis admired Eddison's world-building, but were less than thrilled with the morality/worldview embraced in this story: a bloody Norse warrior code with a cyclical view of history rather than a Judeo-Christian ethic/worldview. There are definitely some quirks in Eddison's writing. The strangest is the invisible, intangible dreamer/observer and his avian spirit-guide who serve as a sort of narrator for the first three chapters and then randomly disappear never to be heard of again (save one fleeting mention toward the middle of the book). Another oddity is that the settings, wardrobes, etc. are described in the lushest terms imaginable, but all the characters are flat and static in the extreme. Despite the quirks, this is an enjoyable read for its lush descriptions, grand prose, and historical value as one of the first modern fantasy novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
E.R. Eddison has written an epic in praise of glory and greatness. His characters are great warriors performing majestic deeds, although there's not quite the moral and emotional depth of (for example)Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' or Lord Dunsany's 'Charwoman's Shadow' - Eddison writes for admirers of the heroic, a fantasy in rich prose to delight lovers of medieval romances and Nordic legends, in a pseudo-medieval/European setting. Although one side of the conflict is portrayed as more 'good' than the other, the overall theme is of the great deeds done in the conflict, rather than the end of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sodium23 More than 1 year ago
I was taken by the archaic language, which can be understood from context. Great words I had never seen before. The author was a scholar of the Norse sagas and myths and early language. Descriptions of landscape and battles are exceptional. Not much character development, but you will recognize parallels to various Norse gods.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
An interesting fantasy but no where near as vivid in its description as Tolkien's Lord of the Rings which is what Eddison (or his publishers) would have you compare the story. That is really the only reason I read this book--to compare it with Tolkien. While Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is filled with Catholic imagery, Eddison's Worm Ouroboros is a little more bizare and hard to figure out where it is taking place.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story represents the best of fantasy -- a gripping tale of heroic struggles against fantastic adversity in an imaginary world. Great writing, compelling characterization, and a twist that will change the way you think about fantasy....
Robert Pendell More than 1 year ago
One+of+my+favorites%2C+but+one+that+demands+fluency+in+English.++%0AThis+book+features+the+rich+prose+style+of+Renaissence+England.++Think+of+Shakespeare+and+such.+But+the+magnificence+of++the+story+makes+it+worth+reading.++Great+heroic+fantasy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A nice little fantasy; not perfect by any means, but fun to read, and probably Eddison's best (and least-boring) novel. Who can't like a book with a character named Brandoch Daha?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing i love it its the greatest book ive ever read in my life i love the suspence in it great book READ IT NOW