One contemporary reviewer referred to The Hill of Dreams (1907) as the “study, rather than the story, of a morbid temperament.” Often regarded as Machen’s masterpiece, this beautiful and idiosyncratic novel concerns the short life of a young writer, Lucian Taylor, and follows his journey from the Welsh countryside of his boyhood to the squalor of late 19th-century London. In an attempt to commune with a reality beyond our own, a plane of existence accessible only to the true artistic visionary, Lucian sacrifices himself and becomes a martyr to aesthetic ideals.
Over the course of the programme, we discuss the book’s place within the decadent movement, Machen’s moral position regarding his main character, and the traces of opium that stain the novel’s pages.
‘Arthur Machen: Ecstasy and Epiphany’ by NIcholas Freeman in Literature and Theology, Vol. 24, No. 3 (September 2010), pp. 242-255
‘Abominable Transformations: Becoming-Fungus in Arthur Machen’s The Hill of Dreams’ by Anthony Camara in The EcoGothic in the Long Nineteenth Century (Manchester University Press)
Mark Valentine’s ‘Introduction’ in The Hill of Dreams (1907) by Arthur Machen (Tartarus Press)
The Friends of Arthur Machen website: http://www.arthurmachen.org.uk/
‘Lucian in the Labyrinth: London Locations in The Hill of Dreams’ in The Library of the Lost : In Search of Forgotten Authors by Roger Dobson (Caermaen Books and Tartarus Press, 2015)
Decadent and Occult Works by Arthur Machen, ed. by Denis Denisoff (Modern Humanities Research Association, 2018)
The Paris Notebooks (2017) by Quentin S. Crisp