The Imaginative Landscape of The Worm Ouroboros

A Pilgrim in Narnia

The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison is one the most important early fantasy works of the twentieth century. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote:

I read the works of Eddison, long after they appeared; and I once met him. I heard him in Mr. Lewis’s room in Magdalen College read aloud some parts of his own works – from the Mistress of Mistresses, as far as I remember. He did it extremely well. I read his works with great enjoyment for their sheer literary merit (letter to Caroline Everett 24 June 1957).

Tolkien’s praise wasn’t without criticism. He did not prefer Eddison’s Mistress of Mistresses (1935), they clashed on ideas of honour and integrity in characters, and Tolkien denied there was an influence on his own work. Still, though, Tolkien saw his importance:

I still think of him as the greatest and most convincing writer of ‘invented worlds’ that I have read

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