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Dreams of Terror and Death: The Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft Paperback – September 11, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately some folks seem to think that it wasn't pure imagination that created such memorable texts. This fairly common myth was perpetuated by the "Simon" edition of the "Necronomicon" which borrows from Lovecraft and combines this with ancient sumerian mysticism. For some reason "Simon" made up an elaborate story about how Lovecraft had occult ties. Not true. He may have been inspired by ancient lore and beliefs and used that to spark his imagination, however the truth is that the Necronomicon, Cthulhu, the Mad Arab etc... are PURE FICTION. The product of an incredible imagination. Anyone who has really read Lovecraft will find nothing in common with his Al Azif and the hoax "Necronomicon" that you can find in any occult bookstore. Anyone who knows Sumerian mythology and mysticism will find little in common with this book as well.
Lovecraft possessed an imagination like no other. Just read "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath" if you don't believe me. It's one of the most stimulating and mind bending works of surreal fantasy I've ever read. I dare you to find something that even comes close to being similar. Check it out.
So, a couple of years back when I picked up this collection in a bookstore and started to read, my happy little synapses started firing as they hadn't in quite a while. Lovecraft writes more hauntingly than most anyone; I mean this in the sense of conveying extraordinary images and a sense of fabulous unworldliness, in language that is so deliciously balanced, complex and graceful that it makes one slow down and read every word.
At times dark and macabre, at others lyrical and filled with magic, the stories here really do have the quality of dreams. One encounters lost or fabulous worlds, and intimations of age-old terror. I was instantly transported into Lovecraft's world, and return there periodically to lose myself in his magic, and to recall that once upon a time, people could use the English language to enchant.
Here is the opening to "Azathoth", the first brief story (which is unfinished). If you like this language and the rich concepts it conveys, I promise that you'll love the rest of the book:
"When age fell upon the world, and wonder went out of the minds of men; when grey cities reared to smoky skies tall towers grim and ugly, in whose shadow none might dream of the sun or of Spring's flowering meads; when learning stripped the Earth of her mantle of beauty and poets sang no more of twisted phantoms seen with bleared and inward looking eyes; when these things had come to pass, and childish hopes had gone forever, there was a man who traveled out of life on a quest into spaces whither the world's dreams had fled."
Sigh. Now THAT'S writing...
Basically, the premise of his stories is that man is fortunate to be born ignorant, because if he knew the truth it would either destroy him or lead him into corruption and madness. As far as dark fantasy goes, good stories based on the Cthulhu Mythos (August Derleth's term for Lovecraft-inspired stories) rank among the best.
By far my favourite stories are "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" a surreal short novel of epic fantasy (a short epic? I never thought it possible!), "The Silver Key" a short story but intriguing nonetheless, and "Through the Gates of the Silver Key", which in my opinion is almost as good as the Dream-Quest. While it elaborates on the events after the Silver Key, it really isn't necessary to read one story to appreciate the other. Both stories are good enough to be read on their own.
What's been noted on Lovecraft's style is that he seldom produces dialogue and character development. While some of this is practiced in Through the Gates, it is largely true that Lovecraft's style is mostly poetic and not intended to be read like "normal" stories. I would also point out that Mythos tales after Lovecraft do not necessarily follow the strictly "poetic" style the author chose for his works.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The various readers on this audiobook set are all great. Several of the stories, including all the longer novellas, are read by Bronson Pinchot (aka Balki Bartokomous from Perfect... Read morePublished 15 months ago by J. T. Stoltz
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature.
In the mood for some Eldritch horror? Feel like steeping yourself in Lovecraft’s frightening nihilistic dream worlds? Read more
I've read other Lovecraft collections, He is one of my favorite authors. This one is my least favorite so far. Its mostly made up of the wimpy little stories that end too soon. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Terrorantula
I've always been a fan of Lovecraft. I love his dream cycle. This was bought as a gift and I've also enjoyed it.Published on August 7, 2013 by Brian Dennis
I loved Lovecraft when I first read him as a "tween" some 53 years ago. This is simply a re-packaging of some of his work, and as such, still great. Read morePublished on July 29, 2013 by Edward J. Uecker
I love this book. I had bought a copy long ago when Walden Books still existed, and it is one of my favorite books. Read morePublished on May 1, 2013 by Miranda Whitehead