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P. 1
The Hill of Dreams

The Hill of Dreams

Ratings:

4.15

(27)
|Views: 879|Likes:
Published by Parthian Books

Lucian Taylor believes he has been damned through contact with an erotically pagan world—or possibly through something degenerate in his own nature—in this critically acclaimed horror story. Moving to London to shake off his fears of being trapped by the dark imaginings of a creature inside him, Taylor soon finds his hallucinations becoming increasingly real. An important and moving work, this story is one of the first explorations in fiction of the figure of the doomed artist. A forward that provides literary and historical context from renowned author Ramsey Campbell is also included.

Lucian Taylor believes he has been damned through contact with an erotically pagan world—or possibly through something degenerate in his own nature—in this critically acclaimed horror story. Moving to London to shake off his fears of being trapped by the dark imaginings of a creature inside him, Taylor soon finds his hallucinations becoming increasingly real. An important and moving work, this story is one of the first explorations in fiction of the figure of the doomed artist. A forward that provides literary and historical context from renowned author Ramsey Campbell is also included.

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Publish date: Oct 1, 2010
Added to Scribd: Aug 21, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9781906998639
List Price: $7.99

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04/12/2014

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9781906998639

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makifat reviewed this
The Hill of Dreams (serialized in 1904 as "The Garden of Avallaunius") is a supernatural/decadent novel by the Welsh writer Arthur Machen. Machen was a native of the Welsh town of Caerleon-on-Usk (now Gwent), which has strong Arthurian associations and a history going back to the Roman occupation. Machen, a prolific author who died at a ripe old age in 1947, retains a reputation as a master of supernatural fiction, although he wrote in several different genres. In circumstances of poverty such as described in the semi-autobiographical The Hill of Dreams, he translated Casanova and prepared an extended essay on The Anatomy of Tobacco. He also subsequently authored several volumes of autobiography. His pagan and occultic preoccupations make him a fascinating writer to encounter, as does the richness of his prose in describing (as Huysmans does so well in Against the Grain and, for me, Walter Pater does less successfully in Marius the Epicurean) the world of sensation.This strange novel is one of the handful of things by Machen that I've read. It involves a sensitive youth, Lucian Taylor, who has a strange mystico-sexual experience in the ruins of a Roman fort, and who has a brief affair with a local girl. When Lucian later moves to London to pursue, as did Machen himself, a writing career, he falls into a life of poverty, squalor, and opium addiction. His mystical fantasies (if they are indeed fantasies) of the Celtic-Roman past occupy his mind during his opium dreams. In his increasingly rare lucid moments, he rails against the barbarous, dehumanizing metropolis (In his A Baedeker of Decadence, George Schoolfield notes the resemblances between Machen's London and that portrayed in Thomson's influential long poem The City of Dreadful Night). Poor Lucian spirals further and further into a madness driven by deprivation, opium, and his search for "new and exquisite experiences". He is as much a decadent touchstone as Huysman's Des Essientes and Wilde's Dorian Grey.The Hill of Dreams is a rather different work than, for instance, The Great God Pan, a creepy tale of sexual and demonic atavism induced by modern science, but certainly bears testimony to Machen's interest in the occult (he was, like Crowley, Yeats, and Algernon Blackwood, an active member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn). l would recommend this novel to anyone interested in the history of decadent literature in Britain.
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The Hill of Dreams