The House of the Wolfings

Infobox Book |
name = The House of the Wolfings
title_orig =
translator =


image_caption = Title page of 1890 American edition
author = William Morris
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United Kingdom
language = English
series =
genre = Fantasy novel
publisher = Reeves and Turner
release_date = 1889
english_release_date =
media_type = Print (Hardback)
pages = 199 pp
isbn = NA
preceded_by =
followed_by = The Roots of the Mountains

"A Tale of the House of the Wolfings and All the Kindreds of the Mark" 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. [L. Sprague de Camp, "", Arkham House, 1976, p. 40 ISBN 0-87054-076-9] It was first published in hardcover by Reeves and Turner in 1889. [Eugene D. LeMire, "A Bibliography of William Morris", New Castle, Del. , Oak Knoll Press, 2006, pp. 127-133] Its importance in the history of fantasy literature was recognized by its republication by the Newcastle Publishing Company as the sixteenth volume of the celebrated Newcastle Forgotten Fantasy Library in April, 1978.

This work and its successor, "The Roots of the Mountains", were to some degree historical novels, with little or no magic. Morris would go on to develop the new genre established in this work in such later fantasies as "Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair", "The Wood Beyond the World", "The Well at the World's End", and "The Water of the Wondrous Isles". [L. Sprague de Camp, "Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers: The Makers of Heroic Fantasy", Arkham House, 1976, pp. 42-5 ISBN 0-87054-076-9]

Plot summary

The House of the Wolfings is Morris' romantically reconstructed portrait of the lives of the early Germanic Gothic tribes, written in an archaic style and incorporating a large amount of poetry. It combines his own idealistic views with what was actually known at the time of his subjects' folkways and language. He portrays them as simple and hardworking, galvanized into heroic action to defend their families and liberty by the attacks of imperial Rome.

Morris' Goths inhabit an area called the Mark on a river in the forest of Mirkwood, divided according into the Upper-mark, the Mid-mark and the Nether-mark. They worship their gods Odin and Tyr by sacrificing horses and rely on seers who foretell the future and serve as psychic news-gatherers.

The men of the Mark choose two War Dukes to lead them against their enemies, one each from the House of the Wolfings and the House of the Laxings. The Wolfing war leader is Thiodolf, a man of mysterious and perhaps divine antecedents whose ability to lead is threatened by his possession of a magnificent dwarf-made mail-shirt which, unknown to him, is cursed. He is supported by his lover the Wood Sun and their daughter the Hall Sun, who are related to the gods.

Copyright

The copyright for this story has expired in the United States, and thus now resides in the public domain there. The text is available via Project Gutenberg.

References

External links

*gutenberg|no=2885|name=The House of the Wolfings


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