Perchance to Dream:Dreams and Mr. Lovecraft

This Weeks Prompt is: 4. Horror Story. Man dreams of falling- found on floor mangled as tho’ from falling from a vast height.

The Stories:Down,The Worst Horror is the One You Have to Live With
We will actually be having a guest necromancer that week, who’s prior writing you can find here. I’ll be writing at her blog that week as well, detailing some of my…personal nightmares.
And that brings us to the main topic of the research: Dreams. Dreams come in a variety of forms, though as many a dream dictionary will tell you, some are shockingly common. This falling dream is in fact one of those dreams (or a variation on one, a dream of flying). Other common dreams include running for your life, finding yourself nude, not quite fitting into your car, or having a great deal of trouble using a phone.
But I don’t have enough space here to discuss the entire world of dreams and symbolism and usage, both ancient and modern. So, we are going to focus on Mr. Lovecraft’s interaction with dreams. Namely, as inspiration and as a sort of fantasy story among his horror tales.
Our prompt, indeed our list, spans 1919 to 1935, overlapping a great deal with Mr. Lovecraft’s Dreamland Cycle. The Dreamland is a realm of surreal imagery and magic, inhabited by gods that resemble those of ancient cultures and normal appearing people, as well as Gugs, ghouls, shantaks, and great spiders of Leng. Great human-like gods walk and priests preach, and great spells and tragedies are wrought. In the magnum opus of the Dream Cycle, Journey to Unknown Kadath, we accompany Randolph Carter as he spans the Dreamlands searching for the gods, learning a good deal about it. We learn that there is a Dreamlands for each world and each dreamer, that the Elder Gods of the Dreamlands dislike being seen by mortals and are quite, that the moon of the Dreamlands can be reached by simply sailing to the horizon, and the ultimate fate of one Mr. Pickman.

And we learn who reigns supreme in the Dreamlands: Nyarlathotep. Here the Dreamlands touch Lovecraft’s own inspiration. Mr. Lovecraft is well recorded to have been plagued by night terrors and nightmares, and from one of these did Nyarlathotep emerge. The dream itself is recorded in Nyarlathotep’s nominal story (apologies for the white on black text), and is a frightful case. The Crawling Chaos haunts the Mythos of Mr. Lovecraft, one of the few truly malignant forces to exist. He is supreme sovereign in the Dreamlands, a sort of Nightmare King who while cordial with Randolph Carter still bears ill will toward his subjects and his charges.
Yet, the Dreamlands have a strange curiosity. They are…happy, in a way. Mr. Lovecraft’s world is terrifying and grim, atheistic and full of horror. Except in the Dreamlands. Here, the truly potent dreamer (such as Mr. Carter) can live after death, building a great city for himself in the Dreamlands. There is an afterlife, almost a heaven, in these little isles. It is…exceptional.
And next week, our guest will fetch one unfortunate dreamer. I wonder what they will say.

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3 thoughts on “Perchance to Dream:Dreams and Mr. Lovecraft

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