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Born July 24, 1878, Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany was a prolific Anglo-Irish author whose writings profoundly influenced the shape and structure of the modern fantasy genre. Best known his first book, The Gods of Pegāna, and later The King of Elfland’s Daughter, Lord Dunsany proved talented not only as a novelist, but also as a poet, playwright, short story writer, and essayist, producing over ninety works prior to his death from appendicitis on October 25, 1957. Nevertheless, previously unknown works by Lord Dunsany have continued to surface as recently as 2017.
A proud Irishman, Lord Dunsany was heavily involved in the Irish Literary Revival or “Celtic Twilight” movement that also included William Butler Yeats, Douglas Hyde, George Bernard Shaw, and Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory. For his efforts to preserve and expand the heritage and stature of Irish literature, Trinity College in Dublin awarded Lord Dunsany, a graduate of the Royal Military College, with an honorary doctorate degree.
Outside of writing, Lord Dunsany was a veteran of the Second Boer War and Second World War, consummate outdoorsman, animal rights advocate, champion pistol shooter, and chess enthusiast—even developing his own asymmetrical variant called Dunsany’s Chess. He is buried at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Shoreham, Kent.