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The Hill of Dreams (Library of Wales) Paperback – 1 Jun 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Parthian Books; Library of Wales edition (1 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906998337
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906998332
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


One of the great masters of horror fiction. --Clive Barker

Arthur Machen's stories... are inspired by a genuine emotion. He hardly ever wrote merely to frighten others; he did so because he knew he lived in an alien world. --Jorge Luis Borges

About the Author

Born and brought up in Monmouthshire, Machen's tales of bohemian fin-de-siecle London were coloured by the dark and mysterious landscapes of his childhood. A contemporary of Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde and William Butler Yeats all of whom admired his work tremendously, Machen's legacy is central to gothic fiction in the twentieth century. His great literary significance was recognized by H. P. Lovecraft who named Machen as one of the four 'modern masters' of supernatural horror.

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3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Guardian of the Scales on 22 Feb 2008
Format: Paperback
Arthur Machen is known mostly for his horror writing, but this book, often said to be his masterpiece, is a partly autobiographical tale of Lucien Taylor, a young would-be writer who lives a solitary life and seeks release in his work. There are compelling descriptions of Lucien's feverish attempts to attain Art, through a Rimbaudian disarrangement of the senses, and of his frequent bouts of despair over his lack of progress. There are also vivid descriptions of the visions he experiences on his excursions to the ruins of a Roman fort near his home, which are reminiscent of Machen's horror writing. This is an intense and stimulating book, and an interesting insight into how Machen came to create the nightmarish visions of his horror stories. One small complaint is the disproportionately large number of typos in this Kessinger edition of this relatively short book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. B. P. Van-asten on 6 Oct 2011
Format: Paperback
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!
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Young Lucian strives to become a great writer by trying to express his occult visions whilst becoming increasingly tormented and at odds with humanity. Tremendously good on its evocation of visions entangled with and inspired by ancient landscapes - strong enough to drive me out onto our local ancient fort. Less good on it's characterization such that I never really cared for the central protagonist - perhaps it was the third person narrative. There was enough in this that I would read another one and I will continue to ponder this one when out in the land.
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