Mistress of Mistresses: A Vision of Zimiamvia



[KINDLE] ✽ Mistress of Mistresses: A Vision of Zimiamvia Author E.R. Eddison – E17streets4all.co.uk The second volume in the fantasy classic most often compared with JRR Tolkien The Worm Ouroboros was the first work from ER Eddison that excited deeply felt enthusiasm from figures of literary stature The second volume in Mistresses: A Kindle Ï the fantasy classic most often compared with JRR Tolkien The Worm Ouroboros was the first work from ER Eddison Mistress of PDF/EPUB or that excited deeply felt enthusiasm from figures of literary stature THE MISTRESS OF MISTRESSES part of The Worm group has long been unavailable in of Mistresses: A MOBI · any edition James Stephenson says Mr Eddison is a vast man He needed a whole cosmos to play in and created one; and he of Mistresses: A Vision of Epub / forged a prose to tell of it that is as gigantic as his tale And James Branch Cabell has said I find here in his finest his purest and his most romantic vein the finest living writer of pure fantasy.Mistress of Mistresses: A Vision of Zimiamvia

Eric Rücker Eddison was Mistresses: A Kindle Ï an English civil servant and author writing under the name ER Eddison.

Mistress of Mistresses: A Vision of Zimiamvia PDF/EPUB
  • Paperback
  • 405 pages
  • Mistress of Mistresses: A Vision of Zimiamvia
  • E.R. Eddison
  • English
  • 21 June 2016
  • 9780345020062

10 thoughts on “Mistress of Mistresses: A Vision of Zimiamvia

  1. says:

    Like The Worm Ouroboros Mistress of Mistresses is a book that only E R Eddison could have written and is one that is likely to garner an even smaller following than the admittedly obscure Worm For my part I think that this book and its subseuent seuels that make up the Zimiamvian Trilogy is perhaps Eddison’s best work It may not be as approachable as the Worm and boy is that saying something but I think its greater depth and scope make for what amounts to a truly impressive achievementThe main character is Edward Lessingham that enigmatic figure last seen in the prologue to the Worm whose dream seuence led us to Eddison’s Mercury and then to most reader’s disdain and confusion was promptly dropped The only other obvious link between the works is in a short scene in the Worm with Lord Juss and Brandoch Daha after the two have climbed the mountain Koshtra Pivrarcha and look into the distance where they can see and ponder uponthe fabled land of Zimiamvia Is it true thinkest thou which philosophers tell us of that fortunate land that no mortal foot may tread it but the blessed souls do inhabit it of the dead that be departed even they that were great upon earth and did great deeds when they were living that scorned not earth and the delights and glories thereof and yet did justly and were not dastards nor yet oppressors?This scene I think is key to understanding the trilogy and indeed Eddison’s worldview which permeates all of his work; on that later As with the Worm we again have a prologue that moves from what seems to be our world to another and it may appear in some ways divorced from what follows though this one is much clearly linked to the fantasy world that makes up the rest of the book In this prologue yet another character never to be seen again is introduced to us a friend of Edward Lessingham’s who sits by the latter’s death bed as the years catch up with him and reminisces about his meeting and subseuent adventures with the great man A hidden portrait is revealed and an enigmatic poem is read and then the book proper begins as we are placed suarely next to a young Lessingham dreamily staring into a goblet of wine as his aide de camp Amaury berates him for a particularly impolitic deed From here on in we will follow Lessignham in his adventures in the fabled land of Zimiamvia where an old and ruthless king has died and his somewhat less able son sits precariously upon the throne The basic outline of the story that follows is of the simplest varying groups are vying for power as the long established stranglehold of the dead King Mezentius is loosened and opportunity arises for the powerful and the clever What elevates this story above a mere kingdom suabbling fantasy in my mind at least are the characters As the story unfolds we are introduced to a large cast of characters each vying in different ways to be masters of their circumstances and all of whom are to play significant parts in the intrigues that follow These characters are almost all eually fascinating with the one glaring exception of Antiope who is something of a pill and they live die love and breathe with such gusto and power that it is hard not to fall in love with them a little In addition to the heroic and danger loving Lessingham these characters include the Duke Barganax an illegitimate son of the dead king whose martial prowess and valour are only superseded by his love of luxury and culture; Barganax’s lover Fiorinda a mysterious and alluring femme fatale whose very being seems to harbour secrets about the nature of existence; Dr Vandermast a strange old courtier of the Duke’s whose learning is almost as opaue to the characters of the novel as it is to the reader and whose role in the story is nearly as mysterious as that of Fiorinda; Princess Antiope daughter of Mezentius and possible pawn to a host of would be regents; and last but best of all Horius Parry the Vicar of Rerek cousin german of Lessingham and perhaps the most delightful dare I say delicious? villain I have ever encountered Pug faced and pugnacious the Vicar is a man we love to hate or maybe hate to love Bull necked hot blooded and uick tempered the Vicar can appear on the surface to be little than a ham handed thug but beneath his bristly scalp is a clever mind able to take nearly any circumstance and turn it to his advantage Almost as good are his sycophantic and sly major domo Gabriel Flores and his pack of man eating houndsLessingham much to the chagrin of his noble friend and lieutenant Amaury has thrown in with his cousin the Vicar and has set himself on a knife’s edge path of trying to both fulfil his obligations to his cousin while steering these plans towards ends that will allow his own noble conscience to be satisfied It’s a fascinating relationship as each views the other as perhaps his only valid peer and seems to hold the other in an eual amount of loving admiration and disdainful hatred The back and forth of their machinations as each tried to retain the assistance of the other while maintaining the upper hand is fascinating and were probably my favourite parts of the book Next would be the scenes in Barganax’s court where many of the intrigues revolving around the throne of Mezentius are hatched and we watch as the man viewed by many as a pleasure loving fop shows himself to be a dangerous man to cross whose role in the coming conflict will be pivotal Spread amongst these conspiracies and outright battles runs a strange vein of philosophical and cosmological musing based on Eddison’s own eccentric flavour of Spinozan philosophy and centring on the figures of Vandermast and Fiorinda wherein all of the events of the novel seem to be nothing than the manifestations of the desires of the goddess Aphrodite and her lover This is where things get weird and I imagine most readers are lost Hints and innuendo are constantly dropped throughout the story that Lessingham Antiope Barganax and Fiorinda are each manifestations of these celestial figures for whom the world of Zimiamvia was brought into existence by Vandermast as a playground wherein they might be free to experience their heart’s desires free from the ennui of godhood and immortality Thus heroic struggle undying but dangerous love and the chance to both fail and succeed epically are central to everything these characters undertake Much like the conclusion to the Worm wherein paradise was the ability to love hate and fight against the greatest odds for eternity here we have the same philosophy writ even larger and expounded upon in some detail As I noted many readers will likely be turned off by this either because like Tolkien they may find Eddison’s morality distasteful or they simply find the long winded and opaue meanderings of Vandermast boring I can’t say that these are my favourite parts of the book but upon multiple readings I have found them to be essential to the tale and they certainly give to what might otherwise be seen as little than an adventure power fantasy an essence that elevates it into something a bit substantial The story proper of Mistress of Mistresses ends in media res in a way that would be fully unexpected of anyone save Eddison for here the worm ouroboros again rears his scaly head and the endless cycle of death and life the movement from one pinnacle of great deeds to a paradise wherein they are re enacted or even bettered is again brought forth It’s great heady and very weird stuff

  2. says:

    Originally published on my blog here in April 2002To read Tolkien and Eddison in close succession is to realise just how much the latter is the better writer This is his second fantasy novel loosely connected to the first and best known The Worm Ouroboros and beginning a trilogy ending with the unfinished The Mezentian Gate Although the earlier novel is better known this is the better one and Eddison's talent clearly developed in the nine years since the publication of The Worm OuroborosWhen strong king Mezentius of the Three Kingdoms dies his heir Styllis is a weak young man unable to handle two particularly powerful subjects his illegitimate brother Barganax and the sinister Honorius Parry Styllis soon dies poisoned leaving a will guaranteed to sow further discord in the vagueness of the terms by which Parry is appointed guardian of his sister Antiope now ueen The other major character is Parry's cousin Lessingham whose honour makes him someone that Barganax can trust as long as he can keep Parry from breaking the agreements he makesThis plot is closely modelled on the themes from real medieval history one of which is the continual rivalry between monarchs and their most eminent subjects A regency presented lots of opportunities to the unscrupulous as so much of the state consisted in the person of the ruler and could be guaranteed to disturb the balance between these groups This could even happen in England one of the most stable states in Western Europe as when John of Gaunt was guardian to Richard II Most fantasy is based on Tolkien's ideas which in turn come from the literature of the medieval period in which uests undertaken by individuals or small groups with a spiritual dimension are common; in using real life as his source Eddison prefigures modern authors with an interest in politics such as George RR Martin though Martin's brutal setting from his Songs of Ice and Fire series is replaced with something gentle a dreamlike medieval world as seen through a pre Raphaelite lensPeople often admire the descriptions in Tolkien's novels but to me Eddison is superior in this as in many other aspects of his work What he describes is not so definite perhaps but it is infinitely poetic and suggestive To me this invitation to use my imagination is much satisfying than merely acuiescing in that of the author Eddison natually also scores in areas where Tolkien is weak his characters are much less stereotyped and he can portray interesting women; he introduces a sexuality which is truly erotic; and even includes a hint of homoeroticismThere is a spiritual side to the stories too which is of the things not being the way they seem variety than the overt magic common in fantasy The way that this is done is rather reminiscent of George MacDonald even though it lacks the Christian allegory of say LilithMistress of Mistresses should be widely recognised as a classic of the genre but for some reason it remains little known

  3. says:

    Lessingham was dead to begin with There is no doubt whatever about thatLessingham you may recall was the English gentleman whose dream? provided the wafer thin framing story to The Worm Ouroboros You may also recall that at one point in Worm our heroes saw from a mountain in the distance the fabled land of Zimiamvia and wondered if it was in fact the home of the souls of the blessedThe answer is complicatedAs mentioned the book begins in England around Lessingham's deathbed; he'd lived to a ripe old age and done great things But then the scene shifts to Zimiamvia which is perhaps less paradisiacal than had been believed; it feels in point of fact much like Renaissance Italy The King Mezentius is dead His heir King Styllis is also dead Next in line of succession is ueen Antiope although power is wielded on her behalf by the Vicar of Rerek Horius Parry aided most ably by his cousin Lessingham a great captain of men The same Lessingham at a much younger age? Difficult to say at least at this remove The Vicar is well not a nice man 'twas ever thus and others including Mezentius' bastard son Barganax raise rebellion Lessingham may in some ways sympathize with their cause but he's honor bound to uphold the ueen and by extension the VicarThis is a less adventuresome book than Worm Ouroboros but I might actually like it better There are plots and reversals and sword strokes aplenty but the action is mostly carried forth in magnificently spoke dialogue There's also magic embodied in the form of Doctor Vandermast but it's of a very subtle sort And looming like a shadow over all else is Love yes with a capital L in its manifold splendours

  4. says:

    This I think is the best of Eddison’s novels — and I like all of them Less of a straight forward adventure than ‘The Worm Ouroborus’ not as inclined to wander down odd avenues of philosophy as ‘A Fish Dinner in Memison’ and of course finished than ‘The Mezentian Gate’ ‘Mistress of Mistresses’ pulls all the best strains of the author’s thoughts together into one narrativeThis is not to say there is not a great deal of adventure and uite a bit of philosophy to be found in the book Much of that philosophy deals with completion and balance male female mind spirit and ultimately Barganax and Lessingham who apparently are the two halves of a much greater manThere are also a number of long winded yet beautifully written passages of ‘laundry list’ description scattered through the novel essentially little or maybe not so little prose poems Ultimately I find them a tad tedious and distracting — they do little to advance the narrative But they are lovely it must be admittedIt must be admitted as well that Eddison was very much an elitist and that it shows The ‘great men’ who populate his world are not inclined to be observant of the laws and s of those around them Here that is romanticized In real life most would condemn such men as tyrants and oppressorsUnder it all there runs a good story a tale of dynastic struggle of love and loss of friendships and betrayals of war of death of life focused keenly on a few key individuals with whom we can identify ‘Mistress’ can certainly be enjoyed just on that level Add in the ideas that accompany the adventure and we have one of the greatest of all fantasy novels

  5. says:

    Reading this book felt like being a fancy party filled with elegant and outlandish nobles who I knew only slightly and were far too dignified to explain themselves to me I drifted through it things overheard and only half understood as if in a dream that Eddison was dreaming for me then waking up and not being able to uite put the pieces together It's an extremely mystical book like The Worm Ouroboros it starts out with a heady and entrancing frame story involving Lessingham But this time the frame is involved in the story and acts as a sort of parallel universe a perpetually twilit world that sometimes shifts just enough to touch Zimiamvia I believe it is significant that it is called an Overture rather than a Prelude as it doesn't merely set a mood for things to come but instead in a way gives a fleeting sampling of the entire novel As such much of the book is concerned with things half remembered feelings pushing through from a forgotten past The politics often made my head spin and Eddison's bizarre nomenclature didn't help with that but the impressions are rapturous Also like The Worm Eddison lavishes in highly sensual details of natural landscapes and opulent man made halls If you like reading pages upon pages of mountains gardens and mosaics this is the book for you However Mistress of Mistresses has a much romantic bent as hinted by the Baudelaire poem printed at the beginning from which it draws its title Throughout the book there are very evocative images of women existing simultaneously as both male and female or as both human and animal This also especially comes through in the character of the Duke who in overture with the Lessingham we are introduced to in the prelude applies his obsessive nature to paintings of his lover which he then destroysIn addition chapters like the overture A Spring Night In Mornagay and A Night Piece on Ambremerine are so exuisitely beautiful that they could very well function as separate tableaux Just one example of the spectacular prose found thereinPale cliffs superimpended in the mist and the darkness and fires burned there with the semblance as of corpse fires And above those cliffs was the semblance of icy mountains and the streams that rolled burning down them of lava making a sizzling in the water that was heard high above the voice of the waves; and Lessingham beheld walking shrouded upon the cliffs faceless figures beyond the stature of human kind that seemed to despair and lament lifting up skinny hands to the earless heaven And while he beheld these things there was torn a ragged rift in the clouds and there fled there a bearded star baleful in the abyss of night And now there was thunder and the noise as of a desolate sea roaring upon the coasts of death Then as a thought steps over the threshold of oblivion all was gone; the cloudless summer night held its breath in the presence of its own inward blessedness; the waters purred in their sleep under the touch of Anthea's idly trailing fingerThough the style is florid and romantic than in The Worm Mistress of Mistresses also displays Eddison's knack for odd and resonant vocabulary especially verbs drawn from archaic English and French It is an undoubtedly heavy and often confounding book but for all its density it is irresistible

  6. says:

    It is the tradition of the fantasy genre that it draws on the heroic mythologies and legends of the Dark Ages Tolkien and those who followed him found their sources in the pre Christian poetry of northern Europe drawing particularly on Norse and Anglo Saxon mythologies But Tolkien and Lewis were Christians Their worldview was alien to the cultures which produced the tales they drew from Really this is true of most of us even those who do not identify as Christians It is why the rich daring Lannisters are the villains in Martin’s books while the humble and unfashionable Starks are the heroesThis is not so with Eddison and is what is perhaps most strange about his books His morality is that of the Heroic Age when great deeds and physical daring were prized dearly than charity and riches were unambiguously superior to poverty Both this book and The Worm Ouroboros are books of great men doing valiant things I think the better known Worm is less strange and enjoyable it is recognisable as an important antecedent to Tolkien A fantastical uest plot peopled with medieval characters narrated as though it were a normal book My own experience has been that almost all pre Tolkien fantasy reads much like fairytale with events not being recounted as though they are happening in reality but rather recalled as some bygone legend Here I am thinking above all of Lord Dunsany Eddison and Tolkien do not write like that Presumably there are important historical factors which allowed for this shift Before them I imagine it simply would not have occurred to an author to write ‘seriously’ of imagined worlds just as in the pre modern period it did not occur to people to write of everyday life or people except in the comic mode The differences between Eddison and Tolkien are not just in worldview Eddison knew and had translated Icelandic sagas but he was also drawing on historical material from the later medieval period as well as on the courtly literary tradition of France which Tolkien repudiated This incidentally is what marks the greatest difference between Martin and Tolkien the former draws on history and as such writes of his characters as real historical persons Tolkien though he is not writing fairytales stays within the realms of Romance It is impossible to conceive of a Tolkien character dying on a toilet like Tywin Lannister such events form part of a lower register which Tolkien does not touch on except perhaps where the Hobbits are concerned Mistress of Mistresses departs from the uest plot Its ‘story’ is mostly conveyed as condensed reportage or like historical chronicle Battles occur but we are not invited to experience them along with the characters nor to worry about the fate of those involved The great men will triumph or die with honour Regions are listed off and the reader cannot be expected to remember where any of them lay in relation to any other Eddison has none of Tolkien's philological interest in producing a linguistically plausible world There is an almost aristocratic indifference in giving out such silly names as Demonland Impland etcThe real scenes of interest are conversations held in secluded gardens touching on Eddison’s philosophical interests These are enjoyable and very strange and Eddison has succeeded above anyone else in creating a convincing reproduction of the language of that period Of course there are many anachronisms for example his use of skerry a 17th century Orkney word which the courtly heroes would certainly not have known But the purple prose does begin to tire There is nothing as arresting as the mountaineering sections of the Worm and this reads as a work of experimental Modernism that it does of fantasy And there does occasionally creep in a sense of hero worship Eddison admires the men he writes of and the reader must constantly hear of their daring to go and do what men of lesser rank would never venture This is not a far cry from the clichés of modern day fantasy Tolkien of course was also experimental No one had attempted anything like what he was doing Yet his bore fruit while Eddison's pointed to a way few have been inclined to follow

  7. says:

    Have tried reading this a couple of times because it's supposed to be a classic But never got very far it just doesn't work for me

  8. says:

    I first read this book in my twenties after reading Eddison's masterpiece The Worm Ouroboros I never expected to read it again as I found it uite difficult at the time However I recently got the urge to give it another go and uickly realized that it cannot be read in the haphazard way one reads a normal novel but must be read carefully paying attention to every sentence a lesson I first learned while reading Gene Wolf's The Book of the New Sun In Eddison's case this has to do with his use of subtle dialogue archaic language and words borrowed from the Norse Scotland and other sources Though supposedly set in the Heaven of Mercury the reader can ignore that and think of it as an alternate universe where the goddess Aphrodite inhabits the bodies of various women and directs the fates of the characters It is a purely pagan land filled with noble heroic characters involved in romanticized battle and political intrigue Though a difficult read the dialogue is superb the plot is excellent and the characters are intriguing Best read in small sections it is certainly worth the effort Though it is the first book in what is called The Zimiamvia Trilogy each book is a stand alone actually occurring at overlapping time frames Harper Collins has a nicely priced Kindle edition containing all four of Eddison's novels I compared it to my print edition and save for a lack of the original illustrations it's professionally done The maps are included though

  9. says:

    Eddison should rightly encompass all the things I usually dislike in novels flowery language meandering plots over the top melodrama constant uotations and allusions to other works lingering on unimportant details for pages at a time But goddammit it tickles me His works read like legends than novels not light reading but not without levity either The confectioneries the characters eat alone hog entire pages but Eddison writes food like Miyazaki in his movies deliciously Perhaps what I like about Eddison is the sheer joy conveys to the reader when he builds these fantastical worlds His characters are always tusslin' and fuckin' and feastin' and bustin' out random lines of Sappho and Baudelaire; his prose is heavy but always a joy to read and even the deaths are lively There's something about Eddison that captures the wonder of fantasy and even though he is one of the early popular authors of the genre in a world where fantasy and sci fi seem to ubiuitously take themselves too seriously he still seems to be one of the only ones who offers an escape into the pure and artful and beautiful and silly universe that I think the genre should probably be forgive me I mostly read Eddison drunk and write reviews drunks so fight me In short this book wasn't the Worm Ouroboros but it was Eddison and that alone gives it four stars

  10. says:

    A good story well told and interesting It would have got four stars but for these flaws The cod Elizabethan language was often hard to follow Some of the descriptions went on for pages The hero Lessingham allied himself for no apparent reason with the worst character in the storyAlso I couldn't really handle the way that some characters seemed to merge with others but the final straw was the it was only a dream idea that he only spent one night in Zimiamvia OK it's a fantasy and a very early one too in this genre but come on

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