The Books of David G. Hartwell: The Masterpieces of Fantasy

The Books of David G. Hartwell: The Masterpieces of Fantasy

Masterpieces of Fantasy and Enchantment-small Masterpieces of Fantasy and Wonder-small

David G. Hartwell passed away on January 20th. He was not a fiction writer, but he was nonetheless one of the most respected and influential figures in the industry. He was a senior editor at many of the genre’s most important publishers, including Pocket, Arbor House, Avon/Morrow, and Tor Books, where he edited thousands of books (yes, thousands). He edited The New York Review of Science Fiction for nearly 30 years, and was nominated for the Hugo Award 41 times.

But for me his most enduring contributions to the field will always be his delightful anthologies, of which he produced many. David had a habit of editing sprawling, ambitious books which gave readers new insights into the field. Two of his earliest, released in 1988 and 1989, and co-edited with his future wife Kathryn Cramer, were Masterpieces of Fantasy and Enchantment and Masterpieces of Fantasy and Wonder.

The first one published was Masterpieces of Fantasy and Enchantment, a marvelous 638-page collection of classic fantasy — including tales by Dickens, Hawthorne, Saki, Twain, L. Frank Baum and Lord Dunsany — mixed with a generous amount of modern fantasy by the likes of Ursula K. Le Guin, Robert A. Heinlein, Joanna Russ, Gene Wolfe, Theodore Sturgeon, Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, Avram Davidson and Fritz Leiber.

One of the things I most enjoyed about this volume was David’s willingness to include longer tales, including three novellas:

“The Green Magician,” an Incomplete Enchanter tale by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt
“The Last of the Huggermuggers: A Giant Story” by Christopher Pearse Cranch (from 1856)
“The Moon Pool” by A. Merritt

There’s also a smattering of novelettes, including “Operation Afreet,” an Operation Chaos story by Poul Anderson, “Neveryon” by Samuel R. Delany, and “Elric at the End of Time” by Michael Moorcock.

Masterpieces of Fantasy and Enchantment wraparound

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.

Introduction by David G. Hartwell
“The Rule of Names” by Ursula K. Le Guin (1964)
“The Magic Fishbone” by Charles Dickens (1868)
“The Goddess on the Street Corner” by Margaret St. Clair (1953)
“Feathertop: A Moralized Legend” by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1854)
“The Root and the Ring” by Wyman Guin (1954)
“The Green Magician” by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (1954)
“Our Fair City” by Robert A. Heinlein (1949)
“The Man Who Could Not See Devils” by Joanna Russ (1970)
“A New Arabian Night’s Entertainment” by Horace Walpole (1785)
“The King and His Three Daughters” by Horace Walpole (1785)
“The Dice-Box: A Fairy Tale” by Horace Walpole (1785)
“The Peach in Brandy: A Milesian Tale” by Horace Walpole (1785)
“Mi Li: A Chinese Fairy Tale” by Horace Walpole (1785)
“A True Love Story” by Horace Walpole (1785)
“The Bird’s Nest” by Horace Walpole  (1967)
“Bird of Prey” by John Collier (1941)
“The Detective of Dreams” by Gene Wolfe (1980)
“The Bee-Man of Orn” by Frank R. Stockton (1887)
“The Red Hawk” by Elizabeth A. Lynn (1983)
“The Canvasser’s Tale” by Mark Twain (1876)
“The Silken-Swift …” by Theodore Sturgeon (1953)
“The New Mother” by Lucy Clifford (1882)
“Mr. Lupescu” by Anthony Boucher (1945)
“The King of the Cats” by Stephen Vincent Benét (1929)
“Uncle Einar” by Ray Bradbury (1947)
“Space-Time for Springers” by Fritz Leiber (1958)
“Great is Diana” by Avram Davidson (1958)
“The Last of the Huggermuggers: A Giant Story” by Christopher Pearse Cranch (1856)
“Tobermory” by Saki (1909)
“The King of the Elves” by Philip K. Dick (1953)
“The Glass Dog” by L. Frank Baum (1901)
“The Queen of Quok” by L. Frank Baum (1901)
“The Magic Bonbons” by L. Frank Baum (1901)
“The Dummy That Lived” by L. Frank Baum (1901)
“The Tale of Dragons and Dreamers” by Samuel R. Delany (1979)
An excerpt from Phantasmion by Sara Coleridge (1837)
“The Sapphire Necklace” by Kenneth Morris (1930)
“The Regent of the North” by Kenneth Morris (1915)
“The Eyeless Dragons: A Chinese Story” by Kenneth Morris (1915)
“Elric at the End of Time” by Michael Moorcock (1981)
“Lindenborg Pool” by William Morris (1856)
“The Moon Pool” by A. Merritt (1918)
“The Sword of Welleran” by Lord Dunsany (1908)
“Operation Afreet” by Poul Anderson (1956)

Masterpieces of Fantasy and Enchantment was published by the Science Fiction Book Club in May 1988, and reprinted in hardcover in December 1988 by St. Martin’s Press. It is 638 pages (including the introduction), priced at $6.98 for the SFBC edition. The cover is by Thomas Canty.

Masterpieces of Fantasy and Wonder wraparound

And here’s the TOC for the companion volume, Masterpieces of Fantasy and Wonder, including three short excerpts from J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan novel The Little White Bird, a Liavek novella by John M. Ford, two Dying Earth novelettes by Jack Vance, a Traveller in Black novelette by John Brunner, and a novella by Graham Greene

Introduction by David G. Hartwell
“A Proper Santa Claus” by Anne McCaffrey (1973)
“Beyond the Dead Reef” by James Tiptree, Jr. (1983)
“Darkness Box” by Ursula K. Le Guin (1963)
“Green Is the Color” by John M. Ford (1987)
“Inside Out” by Rudy Rucker (1987)
“Jack and the Beanstalk” by Osbert Sitwell (1959)
“Lest Levitation Come Upon Us” by Suzette Haden Elgin (1982)
“Lila the Werewolf” by Peter S. Beagle (1969)
“Lock-out Time” by J. M. Barrie (1902)
“Narrow Valley” by R. A. Lafferty (1966)
“On the Downhill Side” by Harlan Ellison (1972)
“Peter Pan” by J. M. Barrie (1902)
“Prince Bull: A Fairy Tale” by Charles Dickens (1855)
“The Bagful of Dreams” by Jack Vance (1977)
“The Dragons” by Murilo Rubião (1979)
“The Drowned Giant” by J. G. Ballard (1964)
“The Enchanted Buffalo” by L. Frank Baum (1905)
“The Facts Concerning The Recent Carnival Of Crime In Connecticut” by Mark Twain (1876)
“The Gray Wolf” by George MacDonald (1864)
“The Griffin and the Minor Canon” by Frank R. Stockton (1885)
“The Harrowing of the Dragon of Hoarsbreath” by Patricia A. McKillip (1982)
“The Hollow Land” by William Morris (1856)
“The King of Nodland and His Dwarf” by Fitz-James O’Brien (1852)
“The King’s Bride: A Fairy Tale After Nature” by E. T. A. Hoffmann (1963)
“The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles” by Margaret St. Clair (1951)
“The Mouse Festival” by Johannes Bobrowski (1965)
“The Parrot” by Isaac Bashevis Singer (1966)
“The Princess and the Frog” by Robin McKinley (1981)
“The Seventeen Virgins” by Jack Vance (1974)
“The Things That Are Gods” by John Brunner (1979)
“The Third Level” by Jack Finney (1950)
“The Thrush’s Nest” by J. M. Barrie (1902)
“The Triumph of Vice: A Fairy Tale” by W. S. Gilbert (1867)
“The Woman Who Thought She Could Read” by Avram Davidson (1959)
“Turandina” by Feodor Sologub (1915)
“Under the Garden” by Graham Greene (1963)
“Wooden Tony” by Lucy Clifford (1892)
“The Last of the Dragons” by E. Nesbit (1899)

Masterpieces of Fantasy and Wonder was published by the Science Fiction Book Club in October 1989, and reprinted in hardcover in June 1994 by St. Martin’s Press. It is 672 pages (including the introduction), priced at $7.98 for the SFBC edition. The cover is by Thomas Canty.

The articles in our David Hartwell tribute series are:

The Masterpieces of Fantasy
The Dark Descent and The World Treasury of Science Fiction
The Early Horror Paperbacks
Foundations of Fear and The Ascent of Wonder
The Canadian Anthologies
Visions of Wonder and The Science Fiction Century

We’ve also surveyed the work of several other writers whom we recently lost, including:

The Books of Tanith Lee
The Books of Michael Shea
The Fantasy of Lucius Shepard

See all of our recent Vintage Treasures here.

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Joe H.

Fantasy & Wonder was one of the first books I got when I joined the SFBC circa 1989-1990; it introduced me to a lot of great authors, especially including Brunner.

I picked up a used copy of Fantasy & Enchantment years later at Uncle Hugo’s; still not sure if I’ve actually read it, which I should rectify.

The other big Hartwell anthology that was hugely influential to me was The Dark Descent, coming out as it did in a time when I was reading a lot more straight horror.

Nick Ozment

I have these and several others of Hartwell’s anthologies on my shelf — what indispensable overviews/surveys of the genre they are! Most pleasant to have met him at the WFC a few years back.

David gave us all his invaluable ear. I only wish I had been able to work with him again, after OTHER NATURE. We talked about it, but I wasn’t finished. Wouldn’t give Dave something not perfect. Too late now.

Scott Taylor

What absolutely fantastic covers!

Eugene R.

These. Yes, these. They taught me the name of “Hartwell”. And 10 years later, I was privileged to meet the man and to get to contribute to The New York Review of SF. It was a great and good time.

Nick Ozment


The covers grab your eye, then the contents blow your mind! An all-too-rare instance when the contents live up to what’s wrapped around them.

Joe H.

I love Thomas Canty with a great and fearsome love.

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