Woodstock Or the Cavalier: A Tale of the Year Sixteen Hundred and Fifty-one

Boston : DeWolfe, Fiske, & Company
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Publisher
Boston : DeWolfe, Fiske, & Company
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Published on
Dec 31, 1832
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Pages
504
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Language
English
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This content is DRM free.
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In ill health following a stroke, Sir Walter Scott wrote Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft at the behest of his son-in-law, J. G. Lockhart, who worked for a publishing firm. The book proved popular and Scott was paid six hundred pounds, which he desperately needed. (Despite his success as a novelist, Scott was almost ruined when the Ballantyne publishing firm, where he was a partner, went bankrupt in 1826.) Letters was written when educated society believed itself in enlightened times due to advances in modern science. Letters, however, revealed that all social classes still held beliefs in ghosts, witches, warlocks, fairies, elves, diabolism, the occult, and even werewolves. Sourcing from prior sixteenth- and seventeenth-century treatises on demonology along with contemporary accounts from England, Europe, and North America (Cotton Mather's Magnalia Christi, for one), Scott's discourses on the psychological, religious, physical, and preternatural explanations for these beliefs are essential reading for acolytes of the dark and macabre; the letters dealing with witch hunts, trials (Letters Eight and Nine), and torture are morbidly compelling. Scott was neither fully pro-rational modernity nor totally anti-superstitious past, as his skepticism of one of the "new" sciences (skullology, as he calls it) is made clear in a private letter to a friend. Thus, Letters is both a personal and intellectual examination of conflicting belief systems, when popular science began to challenge superstition in earnest.
In his acclaimed collection Tales Before Tolkien, Douglas A. Anderson illuminated the sources, inspirations, and influences that fired J.R.R. Tolkien’s genius. Now Anderson turns his attention to Tolkien’s colleague and friend C. S. Lewis, whose influence on modern fantasy, through his beloved Narnia books, is second only to Tolkien’s own.

In many ways, Lewis’s influence has been even wider than Tolkien’s. For in addition to the Narnia series, Lewis wrote groundbreaking works of science fiction, urban fantasy, and religious allegory, and he came to be regarded as among the most important Christian writers of the twentieth century. It will come as no surprise, then, that such a wide-ranging talent drew inspiration from a variety of sources. Here are twenty of the tributaries that fed Lewis’s unique talent, among them:

“The Wood That Time Forgot: The Enchanted Wood,” taken from a never-before-published fantasy by Lewis’s biographer and friend, Roger Lancelyn Green, that directly inspired The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; E. Nesbit’s charming “The Aunt and Amabel,” in which a young girl enters another world by means of a wardrobe; “The Snow Queen,” by Hans Christian Andersen, featuring the abduction of a young boy by a woman as cruel as she is beautiful; and many more, including works by Charles Dickens, Kenneth Grahame, G. K. Chesterton, and George MacDonald, of whom Lewis would write, “I have never concealed the fact that I regarded him as my master.”

Full of fascinating insights into Lewis’s life and fiction, Tales Before Narnia is the kind of book that will be treasured by children and adults alike and passed down lovingly from generation to generation.

INCLUDING SEVENTEEN MORE WORKS BY THE PROGENITORS OF MODERN FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION:
“Tegnér’s Drapa” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“The Magic Mirror” by George MacDonald
“Undine” by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué
“Letters from Hell: Letter III” by Valdemar Thisted
“Fastosus and Avaro” by John Macgowan
“The Tapestried Chamber; or, The Lady in the Sacque” by Sir Walter Scott
“The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton” by Charles Dickens
“The Child and the Giant” by Owen Barfield
“A King’s Lesson” by William Morris
“The Waif Woman: A Cue—From a Saga” by Robert Louis Stevenson
“First Whisper of The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame
“The Wish House” by Rudyard Kipling
“Et in Sempiternum Pereant” by Charles Williams
“The Dragon’s Visit” by J.R.R. Tolkien
“The Coloured Lands” by G. K. Chesterton
“The Man Who Lived Backwards” by Charles F. Hall
“The Dream Dust Factory” by William Lindsay Gresham
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