The Hill of Dreams (published in 1907) is Arthur Machen's semi-autobiographical masterpiece. Machen (1863-1947) was obsessed by his childhood surroundings of Caerlon On Usk in Wales, and the notion of ancient history - the ruins and mounds; the imprint of early civilisations upon the landscape, whose energy is still vibrant with an 'occult rapture' alongside our own time. He was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and this immaginative tale incorporates many of his ideas and beliefs concerning nature and landscape.
Lucian Taylor is an intense, solitary romantic figure; a sensitive child existing between two worlds, that of reality and fantasy in rural Wales, the land of Machen's boyhood. The Hill of Dreams of the title is an ancient Roman fort where Lucian experiences strange visions of the past, a mystical, pagan realm beyond the veil of illusion; a realm or 'super-reality' normally hidden. Lucian later pursues his desire to be a writer and living in the dark solitude of London, suffers great poverty for his art.
Machen captures perfectly the sensation of a cosmically charged 'other-world' beyond our own which is able, through the sublime portal of the Hill of Dreams, to penetrate and intrude upon our waking world - utterly mesmerising!