Though during his lifetime the Irish nobleman Lord Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, the 18th Baron Dunsany, was perhaps regarded as a minor talent, his somber short fantasies and novels had a significant impact on the development of fantasy and horror fiction. In real life, Dunsany was as interesting and versatile as anyone about whom he wrote. He was an African big-game hunter, a soldier in both the Boer War and World War I, and was wounded in the 1916 Irish Easter Rebellion. He was also the national chess champion of Ireland. Dunsany's first short story collection, The Gods of Pegana, was published in 1905 and was soon followed by other fantasy anthologies, including Time and the Gods (1906) and The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories (1908), among others. These stories are distinguished by their elegant, fairy tale settings and Dunsany's unique, macabre sense of humor. Dunsany's novels, such as The King of Elfland's Daughter (1924) and The Charwoman's Shadow (1926), are considered fantasy classics. Although Dunsany wrote prodigiously and with great versatility throughout his life, many regard his early, highly stylized short fiction to be his best work, and his most important.