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Helen Hope Mirrlees (1887-1978) was a British author of novels and poems, whose three novels are Lud-in-the-Mist, Madeleine, and Counterplot, and a book of poetry, Moods and Tensions: Poems. She was one of the Bloomsbury Group and counted among her good friends T. S. Eliot, William Butler Yeats and Virginia Woolf.
Lud-in-the-Mist - a prosperous country town situated where two rivers meet: the Dawl and the Dapple. The latter, which has its source in the land of Faerie, is a great trial to Lud, which had long rejected anything 'other', preferring to believe only in what is known, what is solid. Nathaniel Chanticleer is a somewhat dreamy, slightly melancholy man, not one for making waves, who is deliberately ignoring a vital part of his own past; a secret he refuses even to acknowledge. But with the disappearance of his own daughter, and a long-overdue desire to protect his young son, he realises that something is changing in Lud - and something must be done. Lud-in-the-Mist is a true classic, an adult fairy tale exploring the need to embrace what we fear and to come to terms with 'the shadows' - those sweet and dark impulses that our public selves ignore or repress.
The book that New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman considers one of the finest [fantasy novels] in the English language Between the mountains and the sea, between the sea and Fairyland, lay the Free State of Dorimare and its picturesque capital, Lud-in-the-Mist. No Luddite ever had any truck with fairies or Fairyland. Bad business, those fairies. The people of Dorimare had run them out generations ago--and the Duke of Dorimare along with them. Until the spring of his fiftieth year, Master Nathaniel Chanticleer, Mayor of Lud-in-the-Mist and High Seneschal of Dorimare, had lived a sleepy life with his only son, Ranulph. But as he grew, Ranulph was more and more fond of talking nonsense about golden cups, and snow-white ladies milking azure cows, and the sound of tinkling bridles at midnight. And when Ranulph was twelve, he got caught up with the fairies, and Nathaniel's life would never be the same.
In Paris & Other Poems Hope Mirrlees's remarkable long poem Paris, originally published by the Hogarth Press is 1920, is published alongside later poetry, prose essays and previously unpublished work. Paris is now recognised as a 'lost modernist masterpiece', a daylong, psycho-geographical flanerie through the streets and metro tunnels of post-World War I Paris. Virginia Woolf called Paris 'obscure, indecent, and brilliant', and it has been suggested that Mirrlees experimentation with language and form had an impact on T.S. Eliot's composition of The Waste Land. Half a century later she started to publish poetry once more, work strikingly different from Paris, more formal and restrained, but with a maturity of voice and mood and touching on her later themes, including Roman Catholicism. Until the mid-1990s, Mirrlees's reputation as an early modernist poet was obscured by her cult status as author of the fantasy novel Lud-in-the-Mist (1926). With this book she is back in the poetic limelight.
The town of Lud is a prosperous, bustling little country port, situated at the confluence of two rivers: the Dawl and the Dapple. The latter, which has its source in the land of Faerie beyond the Elfin Marches and the Debatable Hills, is a source of great trial to Lud, which had long rejected such fanciful nonsense as fairies, elves and the like. Then a perfect plague of faerie influences hits the town, penetrating even to Miss Primrose Crabapple's Establishment for Young Ladies, and it becomes apparent to even the stuffiest burgher that Steps Would Have To Be Taken. Fortunately for everyone, Master Nathaniel Chanticleer, Mayor of Lud, is a man with his head firmly in the clouds ...