Without doubt Lord Dunsany was one of the most influential writers of fantasy fiction in twentieth century. His fiction is an acknowledged influence on entire generations of writers, ranging from H.P. Lovecraft to James Branch Cabell, from Clark Ashton Smith to Lin Carter.
Although many of his most famous stories are longer in length, the miniature portraits of Fifty-One Tales (originally published in 1915 and sometimes reprinted under the title The Food of Death) are an ideal introduction to Dunsany. Nowhere is the jewel-like quality of his prose more evident than in the short tales, seminal works which runs the gamut from whimsy to fantasy to social satire.