Cover of first edition
|Author||Sir Henry Newbolt|
|Publisher||William Blackwood and Sons|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
Aladore is a classic allegorical fantasy novel by Henry Newbolt, an author better known for his poetry. It was first published in hardcover by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh, in 1914. An American edition from E. P. Dutton & Company, followed in 1915. Its importance in the history of fantasy literature was recognized by its republication by the Newcastle Publishing Company as the fifth volume of the celebrated Newcastle Forgotten Fantasy Library in September, 1975; the Newcastle edition was also the first paperback edition. A later edition were issued by Borgo Press in 1980.
The story takes the form of a quest exploring in allegorical fashion the qualities of youth, duty, self and heritage. Ywain, a knight bored with his administrative duties, abandons his estate to his younger brother and goes on a pilgrimage to seek his heart's desire. Following a will-o'-the-wisp resembling a child, he is led to a hermit dwelling in the wilderness, under whose instruction he lives for a time. Afterwards his quest takes him to the city of Paladore (also the subject of a separate poem by Newbolt) and the lady Aithne, half-fae enchantress and daughter to Sir Ogier of Kerioc and the Sidhe-descended Lady Ailinn of Ireland, whom he woos and encounters on various occasions.
In the course of his adventures he intervenes in the strife of the two warring Companies of the Tower and of the Eagle, afterward feasting with both in Paladore; he undertakes the Three Adventures, of the Chess, the Castle of Maidens, and the Howling Beast; visits the City of the Saints and the Lost Lands of the South; sojourns with Fauns; and has a vision of Paladore’s counterpart, the city of Aladore, which he afterwards seeks.
After revisiting the hermit and Paladore, he achieves his objective, and he and Aithne are wed there. In a subsequent return to Paladore Ywain finds he has wearied of it, is mishandled by the Great Ones of the city, and is “excommunicate after the Custom of Paladore.” Wondering at the likeness and contrast of the two cities, he and Aithne wonder which is the more enduring, and test the question by building two sand castles on the shore. Ywain’s, built with his hands as a stand-in for Paladore, is swept away by the tide, while Aithne’s, created from a song in representation of Aladore, is preserved. They then return to the mortal city, and appear to perish in a final battle.
- "Newbolt, Sir Henry", The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, John Clute & John Grant, ed., p.681