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The Wood Beyond The World Unknown Binding – 1 Jan 1969

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • ISBN-10: 048622791X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486227917
  • ASIN: B002C0WO28
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,388,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
The multitalented William Morris is reknowned for many things, but in literary circles he's known for having created the first real fantasy stories, even before Dunsany and Tolkien. Though heavy on prose and light on plot, "The Wood Beyond The World" is an intriguing look at the baby steps of the fantasy genre.

After a disastrous marriage to an unfaithful wife, Walter sails away on a ship, but catches a glimpse of a beautiful queenly woman, a misshapen dwarf, and a lovely young slave girl. When he arrives in a distant land, he encounters all three in a beautiful house in the Wood Beyond The World, where the sexy, manipulative Lady is currently living with a cold-hearted prince.

Walter stays there as a guest, and falls in love with the beautiful Maid, despite her mistress's jealousy. But the Lady has taken a liking to him, and despite his love for the Maid, Walter is drawn in by the Lady's magical charm. And breaking free of the jealous sorceress could be fatal for himself and the Maid -- even if they escape, they still have to deal with the savage wilderness of the Wood Beyond the World.

"The Wood Beyond the World" has the distinction of being the first fantasy-quest novel, although it hasn't had nearly the effect on fiction that J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis have had. However, it is an interesting read, especially when one considers that Morris had no mold to work with -- he thought it all up himself.

Morris chose to write in a very formal style, with plenty of phrases like "then waxed Walter wood-wroth," whatever that means. It's not a light read, and it gives the story the feeling of a minor myth rather than a straightforward fairy tale.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By T. Bobley on 18 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
Golden Walter leaves his loving father and his loveless marriage to seek adventure in foreign lands. He has a vision of a stately woman accompanied by a dwarf and a beautiful maid, just as he's about to take ship. This vision haunts him on his travels and somehow, he is driven to seek these 'creatures'. His quest takes him to The Wood Beyond The World, where terrible dangers await him. He falls in love almost instantly with the first woman he meets there and it becomes clear that he was drawn to the house of 'The Mistress' by some kind of magical power, though no-one admits responsibility for taking this liberty. As difficult and hazardous as it was to get to the wood, he could find escape far more dangerous. And what might he find beyond The Wood Beyond The World? More dangerous adventures of course.

It's a short and simple story with no character development and very little explanation of why the things that happen happen. There are plenty of things you could criticise about it. It's not politically correct for one thing - the dwarfs are evil and ugly, a king is chosen partly on the basis of his physical beauty - that sort of thing. But whatever accusations might be thrown at Morris's fantasy stories, he was a trail-blazer, writing fantasy before there was a fantasy genre, laying the foundation stones for later fantasy writers. I love his stories and the archaized language he uses. There are some oddities, as the previous reviewer has mentioned. I looked up 'wood-wroth' in my best dictionary and the nearest I could find referred to wind and sea being moved to a state of turmoil and commotion; violently stormy. There's a wood of huge poplars on the land behind my garden and when there's a howling gale, they thrash about like a stormy sea.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 July 2005
Format: Paperback
The multitalented William Morris is reknowned for many things, but in literary circles he's known for having created the first real fantasy stories, even before Dunsany and Tolkien. Though heavy on prose and light on plot, "The Wood Beyond The World" is an intriguing look at the baby steps of the fantasy genre.

After a disastrous marriage to an unfaithful wife, Walter sails away on a ship, but catches a glimpse of a beautiful queenly woman, a misshapen dwarf, and a lovely young slave girl. When he arrives in a distant land, he encounters all three in a beautiful house in the Wood Beyond The World, where the sexy, manipulative Lady is currently living with a cold-hearted prince.

Walter stays there as a guest, and falls in love with the beautiful Maid, despite her mistress's jealousy. But the Lady has taken a liking to him, and despite his love for the Maid, Walter is drawn in by the Lady's magical charm. And breaking free of the jealous sorceress could be fatal for himself and the Maid -- even if they escape, they still have to deal with the savage wilderness of the Wood Beyond the World.

"The Wood Beyond the World" has the distinction of being the first fantasy-quest novel, although it hasn't had nearly the effect on fiction that J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis have had. However, it is an interesting read, especially when one considers that Morris had no mold to work with -- he thought it all up himself.

Morris chose to write in a very formal style, with plenty of phrases like "then waxed Walter wood-wroth," whatever that means. It's not a light read, and it gives the story the feeling of a minor myth rather than a straightforward fairy tale.
Read more ›
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