The Palace of Morgana and Other Fantasy Tales
The first human being in fairy-haunted England witnesses the battles between the light-loving fairies and their thunderous, mountain-dwelling brothers, the giants… Alexander the Great is granted a glimpse of the fate of all would-be world-conquerors, and trembles… Flighty, fun-seeking youths idle away the languorous hours by asking a magician what wonders he can show them… A novice in a monastery allows his hunger for forbidden knowledge to lead him to a dangerous book, and an even more dangerous companion… A Greek maiden longs to look on the face of Jupiter, father of the Gods, unaware of the prophecy of what will happen should she do so… Men made of iron, born to do nothing but make more men of iron, question the one thing that has been forbidden to them…
These are the fantasy tales of John Sterling, disciple of the Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, friend of Victorian man of letters Thomas Carlyle, and a writer admired by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who sought a publisher for his works in the United States.
Sterling’s powers as an imaginative writer were still developing when he died in 1844, at the age of 38. But the promise of his best tales showed him uniting the Gothic and Romantic elements of the fantasy literature of his day and taking them in new directions, in search of enchantment, wonder, and the sometimes dreadful sublime.