J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (first volume, 1954) may have codified many of the tropes of fantasy literature — noble elves, doughty dwarves, magic swords, and long-bearded wizards — but the genre’s roots stretch many years back.
The late nineteenth and early twentieth century in particular saw a boom in fantastical fiction. In between the gothic literature of writers like Bram Stoker and the pulp fiction of Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith, came a wave of strange literature inspired by fairy tales, dreams, and fantastic imaginations.
This list looks at some of these lesser known works of the early modern fantasy canon. Note: many of these can be found as public domain ebooks, but if you’re a stickler for print — I prefer it for classic works, myself — then you can click the titles for that option.