Fantacollana: Italy’s Take on the Swords & Sorcery Canon of the Seventies
November 3, 2015
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Moreno Roncucci has written in on yesterday’s post:
Listing a “canon” at that time for Italy was really easy: there was a single publisher that published fantasy, in a single publishing line. That publisher had free rein, with no competitor, to publish the best authors of the past 50 years (Sword and Sorcery as a genre was totally unknown in Italy until the 70s, apart from a few things published in sf magazines).
This is a list of the book that publisher published in that line, as a “best of the best” of Sword and Sorcery
For someone looking for independent confirmation that Gary Gygax was not completely “out there” with his Appendix N list, this is huge. And those that have been campaigning for Clark Ashton Smith, C. L. Moore, and Gene Wolfe’s inclusion into Appendix N will be glad to see their names right next to these giants:
- Poul Anderson
- L. Sprague de Camp
- L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt
- Lin Carter
- Robert E. Howard
- Fritz Leiber
- Sterling E. Lanier
- Abraham Merritt
- Michael Moorcock
- Jack Vance
- Roger Zelazny
Missing of course are Cthulhu Mythos pioneers Lovecraft and Derleth, planetary romance by Edgar Rice Burroughs and Leigh Brackett, fantasy classics from Lord Dunsany, science fiction by Stanley Weinbaum, Jack Williamson and Fredric Brown, and completely freaky stuff like Margaret St. Clair’s work. But that’s understandable. I regret not seeing Andre Norton’s Witch World stories here… but seeing A. Merritt in this company more than makes up for that.
The takeaway here is that, eleven out of then twenty-nine of the authors on Gygax’s list would have easily been considered to be representative of the all time best of the sword and sorcery genre during the seventies. That’s not bad for a moderately-educated insurance salesman from Wisconsin!