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- Edgar Allan Poe
Collections of Dreams
Roald Dahl’s The BFG This is the BFG’s collection of the dream jars that he brings Sophie into. “She saw an enormous cavern with a high rocky roof. The walls on either side were lined with shelves, and on the shelves there stood row upon row of glass jars. There were jars everywhere. They were piled up in the corners, they filled every nook and cranny of the cave.” The design of the BFG’s collection comes clearly from the mechanic by which dream work in Dahl’s universe. The BFG has a dream trumpet into which he pours the dreams – he then proceeds to blow them into the ears of sleeping children. The cave is most certainly designed to inspire wonderment and awe – not fear; it’s a friendly magical place. This is achieved through a lack of sharp edges or leering perspective; instead soft curves, organic shapes and warm colour palette give the place a welcoming atmosphere.
Terry Pratchett The Discworld A common location visited in many of Pratchett’s Discworld novels is the Unseen University’s Library. Distorted by the power of so many words in one place – connected with books from the past, present and future by overwhelming amounts of “L-Space”, it is a confusing place of magic, monsters, and lost groups of research students slowly descending into primitive tribes. “The Unseen University Library was a magical library, built on a very thin patch of spacetime. There were books on distant shelves that hadn't been written yet, books that never would be written. At least, not here. It had a circumference of a few hundred yards, but there was no known limit to its radius. And in a magical library the books leak, and learn from one another …” “It was said that, since vast amounts of magic can seriously distort the mundane world, the Library did not obey the normal rules of space and time. It was said that it went on forever. It was said that you could wander for days among the distant shelves, that there were lost tribes of research students somewhere in there, that strange things lurked in forgotten alcoves and were preyed on by other things that were even stranger.” Once again, the concept is an extension of the author’s logic. In the Discworld, knowledge is literally power – therefore a collection of knowledge is undoubtedly going to be a strange place.
Neil Gaiman The Sandman & IF YOU READ THIS BOOK THE WORLD WILL END Neil Gaiman’s comic series The Sandman is the one of best selling graphic novels of all time; its complex and intriguing stories and characters providing a deep and often thought provoking/bending experience. In the series third collection: Dream Country, the main character’s Library of Dreams is mentioned. A library of all books the ever might have or maybe will be written. An interesting idea, which becomes even more so when the author himself was asked to consider what hypothetical book of his might be in there: "The trouble with imagining a book I would never write is that when I think of it, I think 'but I could WRITE that...' So it would have to be a book of books I would never write. A book of ideas I would never have. A book of things I would never do in prose or in fiction. A book of things that should have remained unwritten, fragments and dreams and moments. Secrets too terrible to be learned. Things that would destroy me if I knew them, or hurt my friends. It would contain the secret name of God, and tell you how to pronounce that name. It would be called: IF YOU READ THIS BOOK THE WORLD WILL END." (Gaiman, cited in Orr, 2010) Gaiman conveys the scary, out of control side of hypothetical/limitless knowledge – the potential for an unlimited and ever growing collection of information to destroy.