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Mistress of Mistresses Mass Market Paperback – Feb 1978


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (Mm); Reissue edition (Feb. 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034527220X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345272201
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,849,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘The greatest and most convincing writer of invented worlds that I have read.’ – J.R.R. Tolkien

‘A new literary species, a new rhetoric, a new climate of the imagination. Every episode, every speech, helps to incarnate what the author is imagining.’ – C.S. Lewis

‘An eccentric masterpiece. Eddison is unequalled in the vigour, the vividness, the passionate intensity of his imagining, the brooding sadness that underlies it, and the cockeyed magnificence of his language.’ – Ursula K. Le Guin

‘A fantasy epic written in a lush, thick, cod-Elizabethan style that started off irritating and then became part of the fun.’ – Neil Gaiman

‘The greatest high fantasy of them all.’ – Robert Silverberg

‘A grand fantasy adventure.’ – Piers Anthony

‘Authentic dream, fantastic far beyond invention and natural beyond all possibility of unbelief.’ – Arthur Ransome

‘A romance of a world that never was … its landscapes are magnificent. One lives in it.’ – Hilaire Belloc

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

¿A new literary species, a new rhetoric, a new climate of the imagination ... Irreplaceable¿ C.S. Lewis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Dec. 2003
Format: Paperback
If I was a woman i think I'd want Eddison to be the wooer. This is the ultimate in fantastical literature. But like all love affairs you must accept the rough with the smooth.
Mistress of Mistresses is a work of genius but for modern tastes it not an easy reader - take Webster, Shakespeare, Homer, Sappho and the Norse sagas - mix them with your own metaphysical philosophy, decorate it all with lush prose - you create a world of such enduring colour and intrigue that the initiated never want to leave. But to get into the garden you have to accept that the door is a little stiff and you are going to have to work at opening it.
Once read, never forgotten - but read The Worm Ouroborous first or you'll never forgive yourself.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jason Mills VINE VOICE on 4 Aug. 2001
Format: Paperback
I've given it 4 stars only so that I can later give 5 to the sequel, A Fish Dinner In Memison. (The third book, The Mezentian Gate, though there is enough to be well worth reading, was tragically incomplete when ERE died. It's bits in the middle that are missing.)
ERE's first fantasy work was The Worm Ouroboros, utterly wonderful, but these Zimiamvia books soar to new heights, not only in things such as prose, intrigue, characterisation, but also and more importantly in their phenomenal ambition. ERE creates not just a world but, as is gradually revealed, an entire philosophy underpinning the universe. He's the closest thing in fantasy to the visionary Olaf Stapledon, able to steal your breath away with IDEAS alone!
The writing is intense, lyrical, dense, archaic and just UTTERLY fascinating. This is not straight entertainment a la David Eddings, it requires you to engage with it in both mind and soul; but for the serious reader it is uniquely rewarding. (Though John Crowley's even better!)
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By counting crow on 27 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I so wanted to enjoy this book, after having read the magical `The Worm Ouroborous' by the same author. Unfortunately, this is only the second book ever that I could not finish. It was utterly tedious and devoid of any kind of plot. I struggled through one page after another, waiting for something (anything!) to happen. Don't get me wrong - I wasn't demanding all-out action from beginning to end - some character portrayal and development would have been just fine. So after reaching half way, I reluctantly and sadly admitted defeat...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joyeuse VINE VOICE on 12 May 2008
Format: Paperback
Here you have what those of us who devoured Tolkien in the very early sixties fell on ravenously in our search for more of the fantasy fix, along with Mervyn Peake, David Lindsay, Charles Williams, Lord Dunsany et al - all only available then in battered volumes long consigned to the stacks of public libraries and dusty corners in second-hand shops.

You cannot read this volume in isolation - it's part of the Zimmiamvian trilogy and if you embark on it be warned that Eddison did not live to complete the third volume "The Mententian Gate" - parts of it only exist in outline, interspersed with those chapters he did complete. The language and style are overwrought and luschious and the psyche of the author Edwardian and nostalgic for a world as it should have been and never was.

It's my reading of the trilogy that the main protagonists are in fact the prototypes of the old classical gods who can take on the various personas, human and animal, that they create and wear them as garments as they play out their actions in this and other worlds for their own amusement. In fact they can inhabit several characters at the same time. The main character seems to inhabit personas both in this world and Zimmiamvia, both worlds being created for his amusement by his mistress Aphrodite, who is both Fiorinda and the Duchess. In her guise as Fiorinda she also creates our universe in a bubble during the meal in "A Fish Dinner in Memison" for the pleasure of the guests and that as the meal ends she bursts the bubble, remarking that this flawed world is not worth saving.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Horne on 15 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
...he'd have written stuff like this.

With all the lowest common denominator, easy to swallow, fantasy fiction that comes out today, it is great to discover a book like this from the past. From a time before Tolkien ruined things by making people think that fantasy is all about orcs, evil overlords who live in volcanic mountains, and innocent, warm-hearted goodies who always triumph in the end.

Tolkien may have read his nordic myths and stolen all the good, exciting bits, but Eddison has seen into the soul of the European storytelling tradition, its poetry and majesty, and produced a timeless work of fiction.

Read this book if you like the language and characters of Shakespeare or the atmosphere of Arthurian legend (especially in the Excalibur film), or the storytelling of the Gawain and the Green Knight poem.

Its majestic and beautiful and gripping to the end. And unlike most fantasy books I had no idea how this was going to play out. Don't read this book if you want to finish it in one night and then go on to the next. This novel is a rich experience to savour slowly. Reading this novel i would stop every couple of pages and reflect and digest on what i'd just read, just as i do when I read a Shakespeare play or any great work of literature, which this is.
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