Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers

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Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers: the Makers of Heroic Fantasy
Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers.jpg
Dust-jacket illustration by Tim Kirk for Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers
Author L. Sprague de Camp
Cover artist Tim Kirk
Country United States
Language English
Subject biography
Publisher Arkham House
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages xxix, 313 pp
ISBN 0-87054-076-9
OCLC 2782776
LC Class PR830.F3 D4

Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers: The Makers of Heroic Fantasy is a work of collective biography on the formative authors of the heroic fantasy genre by L. Sprague de Camp (1907-2000), first published in 1976 by Arkham House in an edition of 5,431 copies. Most of its chapters are revised versions of articles that initially appeared in the magazine Fantastic and the fanzine Amra between 1971 and 1976.[1][2]

The work presents the history of the genre through a discussion of the lives and works of its most important early writers.[1] After a general survey of the development of modern fantasy, individual chapters deal with William Morris, Lord Dunsany, H. P. Lovecraft, E. R. Eddison, Robert E. Howard, Fletcher Pratt, Clark Ashton Smith, J. R. R. Tolkien, and T. H. White. A final chapter concerns lesser or later literary lights C. L. Moore, Leslie Barringer, Nictzin Dyalhis, Clifford Ball, Henry Kuttner, Norvell W. Page and Fritz Leiber.

The book includes an introduction by de Camp's colleague Lin Carter, who remedies what he considers de Camp's most egregious omission by providing a profile of de Camp himself (also a formative author in the genre).

De Camp also produced separate full-length biographies of two of the authors treated, H. P. Lovecraft (Lovecraft: A Biography [1975]) and Robert E. Howard (Dark Valley Destiny: the Life of Robert E. Howard [1983]).

The book has been translated into French.[2]



Richard A. Lupoff praised de Camp as "an honest, thoroughgoing, and effective researcher, declaring that LS&S "will almost instantly become a standard reference."[3]


  1. ^ a b Laughlin, Charlotte; Daniel J. H. Levack (1983). De Camp: An L. Sprague de Camp Bibliography. San Francisco: Underwood/Miller. p. 76. 
  2. ^ a b Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  3. ^ "Lupoff's Book Week", Algol 28, 1977, p.56.