Authors - Lloyd Alexander


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Authors - Lloyd Alexander

  1. 1. PRESENTS:
  2. 2. • Few writers have inspired as much affection and interest among readers young and old as Lloyd Alexander. • His most famous work is The Chronicles of Prydain, a series of five high fantasy novels whose conclusion, The High King, was awarded the 1969 Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature. • In describing the influences on his writing, Alexander once said, "Shakespeare, Dickens, Mark Twain and so many others were my dearest friends and greatest teachers. I loved all the world's mythologies: King Arthur was one of my heroes."
  3. 3. • Alexander was born in Philadelphia in 1924 and grew up in Drexel Hill, a western suburb. • His father was a stockbroker and the family was much affected by the Great Depression. His parents read only newspapers but they did buy books "at the Salvation Army to fill up empty shelves.“ • “My parents were horrified when I told them I wanted to be an author. I was fifteen, in my last year of high school. My family pleaded with me to forget literature and do something sensible, such as find some sort of useful work.”
  4. 4. • At one point, however, it seemed unlikely that he would ever be a writer at all. His parents could not afford to send him to college. And so when a Philadelphia bank had an opening for a messenger boy, he went to work there. • Finally, having saved some money, he quit and went to a local college. Dissatisfied with not having learned enough to be a writer he left at the end of one term. Adventure, he decided was the best way. The United States had already entered World War II. • Convinced that here was a chance for real action, he joined the army -- and was promptly shipped to Texas where he became, in disheartening succession: an artilleryman, a cymbal player in the band, an organist in the post chapel, and a first-aid man.
  5. 5. • At last, he was assigned to a military intelligence center in Maryland. There he trained as a member of a combat team to be parachuted into France to work with the Resistance. "This, to my intense relief, did not happen," says Alexander. Instead, Alexander and his group sailed to Wales to finish their training. • This ancient, rough-hewn country, with its castles, mountains, and its own beautiful language made a tremendous impression on him. But not until years later did he realize he had been given a glimpse of another enchanted kingdom. • Alexander was later sent to Alsace- Lorraine, the Rhineland, and southern Germany. When the war ended, he was assigned to a counterintelligence unit in Paris. Later he was discharged to attend the University of Paris. While a student he met a beautiful Parisian girl, Janine, and they soon married.
  6. 6. • The young couple went back to Drexel Hill, near Philadelphia, where Alexander wrote novel after novel which publishers unhesitatingly turned down. • To earn his living, he worked as a cartoonist, advertising writer, layout artist, and associate editor for a small magazine. It took seven years of constant rejection before his first novel was at last published. During the next ten years, he wrote for adults. • And then, while doing historical research, he discovered material on Welsh mythology. The result was The Book of Three and the following books in land of Prydain, the imaginary kingdom being something like the enchanted land of Wales.
  7. 7. • The Chronicles of Prydain is a series of five children's fantasy novels by Lloyd Alexander. Henry Holt published one annually from 1964 to 1968, the second earning a 1966 Newbery Honor and the last winning the 1969 Newbery Medal. • The five novels may be considered a coming- of-age story, for they follow one protagonist Taran from youth to maturity, most overtly in the fourth book, Taran Wanderer. • Taran has the title Assistant Pig-Keeper at Caer Dallben but initially dreams of being a grand hero. • His most important companions in adventure are: Princess Eilonwy, a girl his age; • Fflewddur Fflam, a wandering bard and minor king; • Gurgi, a wild hominid between animal and man; • and Doli, an irascible dwarf.
  8. 8. • The Book of Three (1964) Abandoned orphan Taran and his companions race to defeat an army raised by the Horned King, and his ally – an evil sorceress. • The Black Cauldron (1965) — a 1966 Newbery Honor book - Taran and companions struggle to capture a magical cauldron that is used to create Arawn Death-Lord’s horrific undead army. • The Castle of Llyr (1966) Taran escorts Eilonwy to a royal court for her education. There she is kidnapped by a wicked sorceress and Taran leads a band to rescue her. • Taran Wanderer (1967) Taran searches for the identity of his parentage, and runs afoul of an evil enchanter and a band of mercenaries. • The High King (1968) - winner of the 1969 Newbery Medal - Taran and companions join Prydain's great effort to finally defeat Arawn.
  9. 9. • The Chronicles of Prydain are what’s considered epic, or “high” fantasy, with an immersive world of magic, mythology, monsters, and a final convulsive battle between good and evil. • The heroes grow up from being children to heroes over the course of the five books, learning about both glory and sacrifice; love and loss. • The books can be directly compared to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, with Tolkien’s works based on English mythology, while Lloyd Alexander borrows from Welsh mythology, but each creating a unique world from their own imaginations.
  10. 10. • Besides the Prydain Chronicles, Lloyd Alexander also wrote many other books for children, including: • The Iron Ring • The Fortune-Tellers • The Cat Who Wished To Be A Man • And The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydan – a book of short stories that take place in and around the epic battles of Taran and his companions. • You can find all of these books in the Library today!
  11. 11. • Alexander's last novel, The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio, was published in August 2007. "I have finished my life work", he said about the book. • Lloyd Alexander died on May 17, 2007, two weeks after the death of his wife of sixty-one years. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill. • But the popularity of his writing, especially the Chronicles of Prydain, continues to send readers to his fantastic imagined worlds of heroes and legends.