The epic fantasy novel that defined the genre, now in one volume As the youngest son of a king, Ralph of Upmeads is expected to forsake adventure for the safety of home. But the call of the Well at the World's End is too powerful to resist, and Ralph disobeys his parents in order to seek out his true destiny in its magical waters. The journey is long and arduous as the well lies on the far side of a distant mountain range and the lands beyond Upmeads are full of treacherous characters. With the help of a beautiful maiden and an ancient hermit, Ralph completes his quest and raises the cup of immortality and wisdom to his lips. The question is, what will he do with his newfound powers? Widely recognized as the forerunner to modern fantasy, The Well at the World's End is a magnificent tale of romance and adventure and a major influence on the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis.
Whilom, as tells the tale, was a walled cheaping-town hight Utterhay, which was builded in a bight of the land a little off the great highway which went from over the mountains to the sea. The said town was hard on the borders of a wood, which men held to be mighty great, or maybe measureless; though few indeed had entered it, and they that had, brought back tales wild and confused thereof. Therein was neither highway nor byway, nor wood-reeve nor way-warden; never came chapman thence into Utterhay; no man of Utterhay was so poor or so bold that he durst raise the hunt therein; no outlaw durst flee thereto; no man of God had such trust in the saints that he durst build him a cell in that wood. For all men deemed it more than perilous; and some said that there walked the worst of the dead; othersome that the Goddesses of the Gentiles haunted there; others again that it was the faery rather, but they full of malice and guile. But most commonly it was deemed that the devils swarmed amidst of its thickets, and that wheresoever a man sought to, who was once environed by it, ever it was the Gate of Hell whereto he came. And the said wood was called Evilshaw.
The tale tells that in times long past there was a dwelling of men beside a great wood. Before it lay a plain, not very great, but which was, as it were, an isle in the sea of woodland, since even when you stood on the flat ground, you could see trees everywhere in the offing, though as for hills, you could scarce say that there were any; only swellings-up of the earth here and there, like the upheavings of the water that one sees at whiles going on amidst the eddies of a swift but deep stream.
The tale of the House of the Wolfings in its struggles against the legionaries of Rome then advancing into Northern Germany.
The Wood Beyond the World is a fantasy novel by William Morris, perhaps the first modern fantasy writer to unite an imaginary world with the element of the supernatural, and thus the precursor of much of present-day fantasy literature. When the wife of Golden Walter betrays him for another man, he leaves home on a trading voyage to avoid the necessity of a feud with her family. His efforts are fruitless, as word comes to him enroute that his wife's clan has killed his father. As a storm then carries him to a faraway country, the effect of this news is merely to sunder his last ties to his homeland.
This early work by William Morris was originally published in 1899 and we are now republishing it with a brand new introductory biography. William Morris was born in London, England in 1834. Arguably best known as a textile designer, he founded a design partnership which deeply influenced the decoration of churches and homes during the early 20th century. However, he is also considered an important Romantic writer and pioneer of the modern fantasy genre, being a direct influence on authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien. As well as fiction, Morris penned poetry and essays. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
Up at the League, says a friend, there had been one night a brisk conversational discussion, as to what would happen on the Morrow of the Revolution, finally shading off into a vigorous statement by various friends of their views on the future of the fully-developed new society. Says our friend: Considering the subject, the discussion was good-tempered; for those present being used to public meetings and after-lecture debates, if they did not listen to each others’ opinions (which could scarcely be expected of them), at all events did not always attempt to speak all together, as is the custom of people in ordinary polite society when conversing on a subject which interests them. For the rest, there were six persons present, and consequently six sections of the party were represented, four of which had strong but divergent Anarchist opinions.
Stolen as a child and raised in the wood of Evilshaw as servant to a witch, Birdalone ultimately escapes in her captor's magical boat, in which she travels to a succession of strange and wonderful islands.
Poet, artist, and socialist, born at Walthamstow, and educated at Marlborough School and Oxford. After being articled as an architect he was for some years a painter, and then joined in founding the manufacturing and decorating firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Co., in which Rossetti, Burne–Jones, and other artists were partners. By this and other means he did much to influence the public taste in furnishing and decoration. He was one of the originators of the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, to which he contributed poems, tales, and essays, and in 1858 he published Defence of Guenevere and other Poems. The Life and Death of Jason followed in 1867, The Earthly Paradise in 1868–70, and Love is Enough in 1875. In the last mentioned year he made a translation in verse of Virgil’s Æneid. Travels in Iceland led to the writing of Three Northern Love Stories, and the epic of Sigurd the Volsung . His translation of the Odyssey in verse appeared 1887. A series of prose romances began with The House of the Wolfings , and included The Roots of the Mountains, Story of the Glittering Plain, The Wood beyond the World, The Well at the World’s End , and posthumously The Water of the Wondrous Isles, and Story of the Sundering Flood. In addition to poems and tales Morris produced various illuminated manuscripts, including two of Fitzgerald’s Omar Khayyam, and many controversial writings, among which are tales and tracts in advocacy of Socialism. To this class belong the Dream of John Ball , and News from Nowhere . In 1890 Morris started the Kelmscott Press, for which he designed type and decorations. For his subjects as a writer he drew upon classic and Gothic models alike. He may perhaps be regarded as the chief of the modern romantic school, inspired by the love of beauty for its own sake; his poetry is rich and musical, and he has a power of description which makes his pictures live and glow, but his narratives sometimes suffer from length and slowness of movement.
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