The Gods of Pegana, a unique collection of short stories, the beginning of the Dunsany phenomenon
|First published by Elkin Mathews of London (formerly one of the two partners in the Bodley Head, he also published Yeats, Joyce, Pound etc.), in an edition of 1,000 copies - probably not all of which were made available for sale - in brown boards with a cover design actually stamped into the material (it seems likely, as was common then, that there was either no dust jacket or a mere protective wrap). Pegana was reprinted in 1911 (as by Pegana Press) and 1919 (Elkin Mathews). Contrary to some reports, Pegana was published in the USA also, later, by Luce of Boston, as a single volume in the solid standard Luce Dunsany format (with dust jacket), and also issued in the special (and now very rarely assembled) Dunsany Boxed Gift Set.
Lord Dunsany, who had an interest in some forms of drawing, considered using his own illustrations for his first volume but came across the work of Sidney Sime and enriched the world of art by commissioning eight pieces, thus beginning the great Dunsany-Sime partnership, where Sime provided so many wonderful illustrations for Dunsany work (some even formed the inspiration for stories in a later volume).
For the curious, the figure on the cover of the original Gods of Pegana is that of Skarl the Drummer, a key element of the tales of the beginning and end of time in the Dunsanian mythology, as interpreted by Sime.
The Dunsany Bookstore.
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