Poul Anderson, The Broken Sword

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It is one of the ironies of Poul Anderson’s career – which spans six decades, 66 novels, and almost as many short story collections – that his most important book might be the first he ever wrote:

The Broken Sword

(1954). It is a powerful, dark, and gripping fantasy tale of heroic doom and forbidden love, a modern “romance” set within the tradition of


, medieval Norse sagas about ancient times. Ignored upon publication and never a bestseller,

The Broken Sword

nevertheless found its initial audience among a small yet significant coterie of “sword and sorcery” (S&S) enthusiasts, a fantasy subgenre – also sometimes known as “heroic fantasy” – that originated in the American pulp magazines, and it emphasized adventure-style plots, morally ambiguous heroes,…

2612 words

Citation: Wise, Dennis Wilson. "The Broken Sword". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 June 2020 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=39304, accessed 15 June 2024.]

39304 The Broken Sword 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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