E. R. Eddison

E. R. Eddison books and biography


Eric Rucker Eddison

 Eric Rucker Eddison


Eric Rucker Eddison (November 24, 1882 - August 18, 1945) was an English civil servant and author, writing under the name "E.R. Eddison." He is best known for his early romance The Worm Ouroboros (1922) and his three volumes set in the imaginary world Zimiamvia, known as the Zimiamvian Trilogy: Mistress of Mistresses (1935), A Fish Dinner in Memison (1941), and The Mezentian Gate (1958).

These early works of high fantasy drew strong praise from J. R. R. Tolkien (see especially Letter 199 in the collected letters), C. S. Lewis (see the Tribute to E. R. Eddison in On Stories and Other Essays on Literature), and Ursula K. Le Guin (see the essay "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie" in The Language of the Night). They are written in a meticulously recreated Jacobean prose style, seeded throughout with fragments, often acknowledged but often frankly stolen, from his favorite authors and genres: Homer and Sappho, Shakespeare and Webster, Norse Saga and French medieval lyric. They exhibit a thoroughly aristocratic sensibility; heroes and villains alike maintain an Olympian indifference to convention. The Zimiamvia books were not conceived as a trilogy but as part of a larger work left incomplete by Eddison's death. In fact, The Mezentian Gate itself is unfinished, though Eddison provided summaries of the missing chapters shortly before his death. Some additional material from this book was published for the first time in the volume Zimiamvia: a Trilogy (1992).

Eddison wrote three other books: Poems, Letters, and Memories of Philip Sidney Nairn (1916), Styrbiorn the Strong (1926) and Egil's Saga (1930). The first was his tribute to a Trinity College friend who died in his youth. The other two relate to the saga literature; the first is a retelling of Styrbjarnar þáttr Svíakappa (alluded to in e.g. Eyrbyggja Saga and Heimskringla), while the second is a direct translation from the Icelandic Egil's saga, supplemented with extensive notes.

He was awarded the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1924 and the Order of the Bath in 1929 for public service with the Board of Trade.




  • The Worm Ouroboros (1922). London: Jonathan Cape

Zimiamvia Trilogy

  • Mistress of Mistresses (1935). London: Faber and Faber.
  • A Fish Dinner in Memison (1941). New York: E. P. Dutton & Co.
  • The Mezentian Gate (1958). London: Curwen Press.
  • Zimiamvia: a Trilogy (1992). New York: Dell Publishing. ISBN 0-440-50300-0.


  • Poems, Letters, and Memories of Philip Sidney Nairn (1916). London: Printed for Private Circulation.
  • Egil's Saga (1930). London: Cambridge University Press.
  • Styrbiorn the Strong (1926). London: Jonathan Cape.

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The Worm Ouroboros

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