Book Reviews,  Classics,  Fantasy,  Historical Fiction,  Magical Realm,  Short Stories

Book Review: Seven Tales From King Arthur’s Court

Seven Tales from King Arthur's CourtSeven Tales from King Arthur’s Court by Albert Seligman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

With endless books being added daily to bookstore shelves (physical and virtual), it’s easy to go ‘deer in the headlights’ while trying to select your next read. You hope it will provide entertainment and serve as transportation to another place, perhaps another time, if just for a little while.

Finding that little needle in a constantly growing haystack can be a challenge. When I discovered Seven Tales from King Arthur’s Court, I soon realized that I’d discovered a needle — a handcrafted, labor of love, one of a kind needle, one that has taken a full century to create.

Editor Albert Seligman has been working on this project for over thirty years. He took on the challenge of locating all 106 of Edmund Dulac’s illustrations published in the American Weekly magazine between 1924 and 1951.

In a recent email conversation, Albert Seligman told me that, “I found them in Bill Blackbeard’s Academy of Comic Art in San Francisco. Bill allowed us to remove and photograph the covers.” Imaging what an honor (and thrill!) it must have been to take temporary possession of so much rare artwork.

One outcome of that project is this book. It contains seven stories by John Erskine, originally published in the American Weekly magazine. Each story is accompanied by an Edmund Dulac illustration. You’ll also enjoy the art of other “Golden Age” illustrators throughout the book.

In the introduction, Seligman provides a wealth of information about John Erskine and Edmund Dulac for those who may not be familiar with their work. A lengthy, fascinating essay titled “The Delight of Great Books” by John Erskine serves as a prelude to the seven Arthurian stories.

If you love Arthurian legends, or are a fan of the Golden Age of Illustration (1880–1930), this book should find a special place in your personal library. It will entertain you, delight your eyes, and remind you that classic artwork and storytelling is well worth the effort of preserving.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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