Addendum to the Willow Wray Collection of the Writings of Lord Dunsany

Finding aid prepared by Errol Stevens(?)
Loyola Marymount University, Department of Archives and Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library
William H. Hannon Library
1 LMU Drive, MS 8200
Los Angeles, California, 90045-2659
(310) 338-5710
Special.Collections@lmu.edu
URL: http://library.lmu.edu/
1995 (original?)


Title: Addendum to the Willow Wray Collection of the Writings of Lord Dunsany
Identifier/Call Number: 005
Contributing Institution: Loyola Marymount University, Department of Archives and Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 2.0 document boxes .8 linear feet. Letters, typescripts of plays, poems, short stories, and essays of Lord Dunsany. 3 reel-to-reel tapes of Lord Dunsany reading his plays and poems.
Date (inclusive): 1952-1959
Abstract: The Addendum to the Willow Wray Collection of the Writings of Lord Dunsany consists of poems, essays, short stories, and reel-to-reel tape recordings of the Anglo-Irish author Lord Dunsany (1878-1957).
Creator: Dunsany, Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, Lord, Baron, 1878-1957
Creator: Wray, Fay, 1907-2004

Series Arrangement

The Addendum to the Willow Wray Collection of the Writings of Lord Dunsany consists of four series, based on type of literature authored by Lord Dunsany and in one case, the format on which Lord Dunsany's works are recorded:
Series 1: Short Stories, Plays, Essays
This series consists of short stories, poems, and other literary works by Lord Dunsany. The manuscripts are all typescript, except for two holographs, and undated. Some are annotated, some signed, and some are both annotated and signed by Lord Dunsany.
Series 2: Poems
This series consists of typescript and holograph poems of Lord Dunsany. Some poems are signed, some may have been unpublished.
Series 3: Letters
Letters from Lord Dunsany to his agent in California, Willow Wray, make up this series.
Series 4: Tape Recordings of Lord Dunsany Reading
Three reel-to-reel tapes of Lord Dunsany reading from his poems and other works make up this series.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
English Literature
Dunsany, Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, Baron, 1878-1957
Authors, Irish -- 20th century
Fantasy fiction, English -- Irish authors -- 20th century
Mythologists -- 20th century

Lord Dunsany Biography

The work of the author and playwright Edward John Moreton Drax Plunket, better known as Lord Dunsany, is considered one of the key influences on the development of the literary genres of horror and fantasy. He was born in London in 1878 to Anglo-Irish family of Plunkett, lords of Dunsany Castle, in County Meath, northwest of Dublin, Ireland. The future Lord Dunsany was educated in public school at Eton, which seems to have been unpleasant for him, until the age of sixteen, when his father had him entered into Sandhurst, the British military academy, in 1896. Lord Dunsany graduated and entered British military service as an officer with the Coldstream Guards, serving in the Boer War and seeing action at such battles as Modder River. This took place in 1899, the same year that Lord Dunsany inherited Dunsany Castle on the death of his father.
In 1901 Dunsany returned to civilian life. In 1904 he married Lady Beatrice Child-Villiers, whose father was the Earl of Jersey; the couple made Dunsany Castle their principal residence for the next twenty years. Randal Arthur Henry, the couple's first and only child, was born in 1906.
Lord Dunsany settled down to the country life of an Anglo-Irish nobleman, but he had greater ambitions. In 1903, he had begun experimenting in writing in short stories. The end result was The Gods of Pegana, a collection of short stories concerning mythological gods and lands, both with a malevolent bent. In short Dunsany was creating, or at least helping to create, "sword and sorcery" fantasy. He had to pay for the publication of this first work, but The Gods of Pegana enjoyed strong enough sales that he never had to pay to publish his works again. Over the next decade he published six more books, all of which concerned mythological fantasy.
In 1914, Lord Dunsany became a playwright with the production of his first play, at Dublin's famous Abbey Theatre, the one-act "The Glittering House." It was the first of many, for Dunsany continued to write plays through the 1930s. Ironically, his plays were more popular in the United States than they were in either England or Ireland.
In World War I, Lord Dunsany re-joined the British Army, gaining the rank of captain with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. As a Unionist, he fought against the Irish Nationalists in the Dublin Uprising of 1916, and in the brutal trench warfare on the continent, Lord Dunsany saw combat at the Battle of the Somme that same year.
After the war Lord Dunsany continued to write fantasy fiction and plays. His 1924 novel, The King of Elfland's Daughter, marked a notable entry in the field of fantasy fiction. He also wrote short stories related to themes in Irish culture, as well as pieces related to his experiences in World War I. The most important development in his writings was the creation of the character "Mr. Joseph Jorkens," who first appeared in 1931. Jorkens is a member of a London gentleman's club, and a raconteur who spins tales for other members, tales which have a more than a touch of fantasy and oddness.
After World War II, Lord Dunsany's reputation declined, and he is best known today for his influence on such writers as H. P. Lovecraft and Arthur C. Clarke and their development of science fiction and horror genres. In short, Lord Dunsany is considered a minor writer, more important for his initial role in developing fantasy fiction, with correlative influence on other genres, especially science fiction and horror.
Sources for this biography include:
  • Knepper, B. G. "Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, Lord Dunsany (24 July-25 October 1957)." Dictionary of Literary Biography. Volume 10 (Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1982): 152-162.
  • Wessells, Henry, "Lord Dunsany: Pioneer of Modern Fantasy." AB Bookman's Weekly 102, no. 16 (1988): 703-706.

Chronology of Life of Lord Dunsany

1878 Edward John Moreton Drax Plunket, Lord of Dunsany, born in London to Anglo-Irish family of Plunkett, owners of Dunsany Castle, in the County Meath, northwest of Dublin, Ireland.
1896 Edward Plunkett (Lord Dunsany) enters Sandhurst.
1899 Edward Plunkett inherits title "Lord Dunsany" on death of his father, John Edward, Lord of Dunsany.
1899 Lord Dunsany serves in Boer War with the Coldstream Guards as an officer.
1904 Marries Lady Beatrice Child-Villiers.
1905 His first collection of fantasy fiction, The Gods of Pegana, published.
1909 The Glittering Gate, his first play, performed in the Abbey Theatre of Dublin.
1912 His Book of Wonder, a collection of fantasy short stories, published.
circa 1916-1918 Serves in the trenches of World War I as captain in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
1922 His novel Don Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley published.
1924 His novel The King of Elfland's Daughter published.
1931 His Travel Tales of Jorken published.
1957 Lord Dunsany dies.

Collection Description

This collection consists of signed and unsigned manuscripts that Lord Dunsany authored, including poems, essays, plays, and correspondence. Much of the material is typescript, while some, eg, the correspondence, is written in Lord Dunsany's own hand.
Of special interest are the reel-to-reel tapes of Lord Dunsany reading his own poems and plays (Series 4).

Access

Collection is open to research under the terms of use of the Department of Archives and Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University.

Publication Rights

Materials in the Department of Archives and Special Collections may be subject to copyright. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, Loyola Marymount University does not claim ownership of the copyright of any materials in its collections. The user or publisher must secure permission to publish from the copyright owner. Loyola Marymount University does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or of publication rights held by the original author or artists or his/her heirs, assigns, or executors. The estate of Lord Dunsany retains all literary and copyrights related to his works.

Acquisition Information

Loyola University purchased these materials from the actress Fay Wray in 1965. Fay Wray's sister, Willow Wray, was the literar agent of Lord Dunsany in California. Accession Number: 1995.10.

Processing History

Based on internal departmental documentation, it seems likely that Dr. Errol Stevens, then head of the Department of Archives and Special Collections, processed the collection, circa 1995.

Related Collections


Text 1-42

Series 1: Short Stories, Plays, Essays. undated

Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 42.0 folders

Series Description

This series consists of short stories, poems, and other literary works by Lord Dunsany. The manuscripts are all typescript, except for two holographs, and undated. Some are annotated, some signed, and some are both annotated and signed by Lord Dunsany.
Box 1, Folder 1

Across the Colour Bar. undated

Box 1, Folder 2

At Midnight. undated

Box 1, Folder 3

The Awakening. undated

Box 1, Folder 4

A Channel Rescue (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 5

A Channel Rescue (2 copies). undated

Box 1, Folder 6

The Deal (annotated, signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 7

The Deal (2 copies, annotated). undated

Box 1, Folder 8

A Deal with a Witch (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 9

The Escape from the Valley (annotated). undated

Box 1, Folder 10

The Ghost of the Valley (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 11

A Goat in Trousers (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 12

Greek Meets Greek (annotated). undated

Box 1, Folder 13

The Homecoming (annotated). undated

Box 1, Folder 14

In an English Wood (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 15

Jorkens' Regret (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 16

Last Words (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 17

The Little Light (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 18

Love and Duty (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 19

Mrs. Jorkens--2 copies. undated

Box 1, Folder 20

Murder in a Flat--A Play (annotated, signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 21

Murder in a Flat--A Play (annotated). undated

Box 1, Folder 22

One Night in El Dorado (annotated, signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 23

Our Distant Cousins (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 24

Our Distant Cousins (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 25

A Prophet without Honour (annotated, signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 26

The Quiet Laugh (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 27

The Quiet Laugh. undated

Box 1, Folder 28

The Romance of His Life--2 copies. undated

Box 1, Folder 29

A Snake Story (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 30

A Spanish Castle (annotated, signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 31

The Study in Umber (holograph). undated

Box 1, Folder 32

A Tale of Naini Tal (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 33

A Tale of Roscommon (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 34

A Tale of Roscommon--3 copies. undated

Box 1, Folder 35

A Talk with a Spirit (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 36

Too Long Ago (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 37

Too Long Ago--2 copies. undated

Box 1, Folder 38

A Trip to California. undated

Box 1, Folder 39

The Two Scientists (holograph, signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 40

The Ultimate Goal. undated

Box 1, Folder 41

The Visitor (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 42

The Wild Voice (signed). undated

Text 43-52

Series 2: Poems. 1952, 1954

Physical Description: 12.0 folders

Series Description

This series consists of typescript and holograph poems of Lord Dunsany. Some poems are signed, some may have been unpublished.
Box 1, Folder 43

Birds Beyond Bedlam (holograph). undated

Box 1, Folder 44

A Canterbury Tale (holograph). 1952

Box 1, Folder 45

Coronation. undated

Box 1, Folder 47

A Dialogue. undated

Box 1, Folder 48

Evening at Bel Air (holograph, signed, on cover of Queen Mary luncheon menu). 1954

Box 1, Folder 49

A Farewell to California. undated

Box 1, Folder 50

In a Big Liner. undated

Box 1, Folder 51

On Palm-Trees Seen in a City (holograph, signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 52

Slow Cobbler (signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 53

To Sibelius (holograph, signed). undated

Box 1, Folder 54

The Wandering Seer (holograph). undated

Box 1, Folder 55

The Watchers. undated

 

Series 3: Letters. 1954-1957

Physical Description: 1.0 folder

Series Description

Five letters from Lord Dunsany to his agent in California, Willow Wray, make up this series. The letters are all found in Box 1, Folder 56.
 

Series 4: Tape Recordings of Lord Dunsany Reading. 1953

Physical Description: 1.0 document boxes

Series Description

Three reel-to-reel tapes of Lord Dunsany reading from his poems and other works make up this series. The original reel-to-reel tapes do not have duplicate tapes for research use.
Box 2, Folder 1

Epic poem and others. 1953

Box 2, Folder 2

Bureau de change (play). 1953

Box 2, Folder 3

The Use of Man; Lilith; and three short poems. 1953