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The House of the Wolfings

The House of the Wolfings by William Morris
By: (1834-1896)

William Morris (1834-1896) was a writer, illustrator and medievalist from the Romantic period and associated with other renowned authors of the time such as Dante Rossetti. His fascination with ancient Germanic and Norse people dominated his writings, the first to be set in an entirely invented fantasy world and which helped to establish the fantasy genre.

The House of Wolfings (1890), some argue, is a demonstration of Morris' socialism as the society described, though not an utopia, is clan-based, elects leaders and makes decisions in clan tribal meetings. Notwithstanding, it tells the story of how Thiodolf and his clan - the Wolfings - fight and vanquish the Roman invaders. The book is built with Morris' knowledge of the historical period and his own idealistic views, which allow him to combine facts and mythical elements. Thiodolf is protected by a dwarfish coat of mail, given to him by his lover Wood Sun, herself one of the Vala, the immortals. But things are not what they seem and what is meant to protect him, is also a curse...

First Page:

THE HOUSE OF THE WOLFINGS A TALE OF THE HOUSE OF THE WOLFINGS AND ALL THE KINDREDS OF THE MARK WRITTEN IN PROSE AND IN VERSE by William Morris

Whiles in the early Winter eve We pass amid the gathering night Some homestead that we had to leave Years past; and see its candles bright Shine in the room beside the door Where we were merry years agone But now must never enter more, As still the dark road drives us on. E'en so the world of men may turn At even of some hurried day And see the ancient glimmer burn Across the waste that hath no way; Then with that faint light in its eyes A while I bid it linger near And nurse in wavering memories The bitter sweet of days that were.

CHAPTER I THE DWELLINGS OF MID MARK

The tale tells that in times long past there was a dwelling of men beside a great wood. Before it lay a plain, not very great, but which was, as it were, an isle in the sea of woodland, since even when you stood on the flat ground, you could see trees everywhere in the offing, though as for hills, you could scarce say that there were any; only swellings up of the earth here and there, like the upheavings of the water that one sees at whiles going on amidst the eddies of a swift but deep stream... Continue reading book >>


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