Lord Dunsany was around before Tolkien, and I actually prefer his style to Tolkien's. It's usually lyrical, often humorous, and multilayered. I plan to read more of him, but so far, I can recommend:
THE KING OF ELFLAND'S DAUGHTER
This is said to be Dunsany's most poetic piece, and every line is beautiful. When the people demand magic in the land, the prince goes to Faerie and brings back a fey wife...but it is not happily-ever-after from there on...
THE CHRONICLES OF LORD RODRIGUEZ
Questing to fulfill his father's death wish that he seek a war, young Lord Rodriguez in a golden Spain that never was comes across adventure in plenty. With a sword in his sheath and a bandolier across his shoulder, he should be ready to take anything on... Only, he never counted on having to deal with deadly pans, mad magicians, and other wild adventures. This reminded me greatly of Don Quixote-- picaresque, with a practical side-kick and noble-minded hero.
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