Beyond the Wall of Sleep

Beyond the Wall of Sleep One of Lovecraft s simpler tales It s the story of a man native to Appalachia who seemingly went mad and killed someone He is acquitted by reason of insanity and sent to an asylum The man has incredibly intense and vivid waking dreams A young doctor there does experiments on the man, trying to link their minds, so that he too may experience these dreams He suspects rightly it turns out that they may be muchthan just dreams This is Lovecraft at his simplest and most effective No frill, but creepy as hell It bringing you a vastly expanded sense of the universe and an equally diminished sense of your self in it One thing to add about this tale is that is argues somewhat against HPL s notorious well known racism The dreamer in the tale is a white, poor, unlettered Appalachian It is clear that Lovecraft has an equally disdainful view of these white folk A fair amount of his racism may really have been an almost equally unpleasant classism or grotesque snobbery Just a thought. How little does the earth self know of life and its extent Dreams play an important role in Lovecraft s stories This one doesn t belong to Cthulhu mythos It is about the importance of dreaming and an opinion on what exactly the dreams mean The narrator labels Freud s dream analysis as silly puerile is the word used He allows that some dreams are not that important, but there are others that have deeper meaning, the ones that show us something that most ordinary people wouldn t understand We may guess that in dreams life, matter, and vitality, as the earth knows such things, are not necessarily constant and that time and space do not exist as our waking selves comprehend them Told by a narrator who works at an asylum, Beyond the Wall of Sleep tells a story of a disturbed man whose case woke up the narrator s old interest in dreams Joe Slater is committed to the asylum where our narrator works He seemed to have two separate lives the one when he is awake and the stranger one when he is dreaming He is uneducated, dull, violent and an alcoholic Oh, and a murderer He gets worse as the time goes by and the narrator decides to get to the bottom of his bizarre behaviour And he has just the right instruments to do it Now, in my intense desire to probe into the dream life of Joe Slater, I sought these instruments again. Beyond The Wall Of Sleep Is A Short Story By American Writer H P Lovecraft Written InAnd First Published In The Amateur Publication Pine Cones In OctoberInspiration Lovecraft Said The Story Was Inspired By An April ,Article In The New York Tribune Reporting On The New York State Police, The Article Cited A Family Named Slater Or Slahter As Representative Of The Backwards Catskills Population The Nova Mentioned At The End Of Lovecraft S Story Is A Real Star, Known As GK Persei The Quotation Is From Garrett P Serviss Astronomy With The Naked EyeThe Title Of The Story May Have Been Influenced By Ambrose Bierce S Beyond The Wall Lovecraft Was Known To Be Reading Bierce InJack London SNovel Before Adam, Which Concerns The Concept Of Hereditary Memory, Contains The Passage, Nordid Any Of My Human Kind Ever Break Through The Wall Of My Sleep We shall meet again perhaps in the shining mists of Orion s Sword, perhaps on a bleak plateau in prehistoric Asia Perhaps in unremembered dreams tonight perhaps in some other form an aeon hence, when the solar system shall have been swept away In dreams we hear songs which cannot be captured, yet which we will always long to hear while awake We can hear in them our history, hidden away in other planets that are no longer our own.In Beyond the Wall of Sleep , a strange man from the boondocks, Joe Slater, is taken in for evaluation after a series of violent psychological attacks A doctor there takes the opportunity to study the man s mindclosely and notices that, while at first there doesn t seem to be much to unravel, there seems to be two halves to his personality There s a weird and surprisingly heavy presence in the man at certain times which makes the doctor curious, and he begins to be obsessed with finding out who this is inhabiting Slater s brain, because it s certainly not him alone Beyond the Wall of Sleep is an exploration into the relationship between dreams, madness and the interconnected nature of living things, with a twist of the paranormal It reminds me, even though it s not super similar, of the Hypnos and Thanatos myth, with sleep often thought of as being the only link to death that does not involve dying I feel like at least one of the characters is driven truly insane by the end, though it s hard to tell which, and when.This idea has been done better, I hate to say, and in this instance Lovecraft s writing style can get pretty grating, beingobsessed with twirling vocabulary around rather than telling us what is happening No doubt it s creative, though, and I can see shades of my favourite author in it I suspect Junji Ito is a big fan of this particular story, having done several adaptations of it If it piques your curiosity, Beyond the Wall of Sleep is worth looking at I would recommend the original as well as Ito s Long Dream and Den of the Sleep Demon , which are similar but also improve upon the theme Readof my Lovecraft reviews here on my blog. Stumbling my way back from my personal 40 Days Nights, a book lover s arid reading slump, I seem to have made the unconscious decision to plunge into the vortex of sci fi fantasy in the form of both classic I ve been meaning tos thoserecently added to my ever towering TBR What can I say, quests monsters from the mysterious depths seem to be the perfect cure for even the most stubborn of slumps That being said, I thought this was the perfect time for one of my biggest I ve been meaning tos H.P Lovecraft Lovecraft short stories have been stacking up on my kindle since time immemorable reading slumps make me a tad hyperbolic I spotted a decent collection at the library to fill in some of the gaps fate So I cracked open a notebook, preparing to record the random bits of genius I was sure to encounter, and set to reading I definitely haven t been disappointed in Lovecraft s writing up to this point I ve dipped a toe into the depths of Cthulhu with The Tomb, sworn off any future explorations of slimy isles with a preponderance of dead fish whilst reading Dagon, and enjoyably questioned in which reality I was reading Lovecraft s Polaris because, let s face it, reading is probably what consumes any sleep worlds I might encounter just as it does this waking one I ve become fond of his prose and I can see the ripples towards current sci fi and fantasy in each storyline I didn t end up falling down the Research Rabbit Hole until I read the following in Beyond the Wall of Sleep Among these odd folk, who correspond exactly to the decadent element of white trash in the South, law and morals are non existent and their general mental status is probably below that of any other section of the native American people Now, I m not going to plead ignorance but rather admit to it Lovecraft has been back burnered for me for years so I ve not delved much further into Lovecraftian history and lore than being able to recognize a Cthulhu plushie if one should cross my path I ve read my fair share of classics and am decently versed in that sinking feeling when you realize an incredibly intelligent author that has had a large influence in shaping the context content of literature was also a raging idiot that foamed at the mouth along with the crowd when it came to certain social issues Classism, sexism, racism, the list goes on and on and on There s littleto do than to scratch your head in wonder unless you feel lead to seek out their resting place for a bit of a tantrum or requisition a Ouija board for the scholarly pursuit of a conversation that might explain some of theirglaring deficiencies For most authors I stand firmly in the middle of they were a result of their era they should have risen above their era because I respect their work how dare they entertain the idiocies of mere mortals Okay, possibly slightly skewed towards the latter Still, I didn t actually know whether to take the above quote as racism from Lovecraft or part of his characterization of an unreliable narrator Hence, the Research Rabbit Hole subsequent sinking feeling As I was reading, I took the quote in stride with the rest of the narrator s remarks about Slater His denigration of Slater seems to be part and parcel of his clinical nature He philosophizes while being the unenlightened one his interest is piqued by Slater because he realizes that Slater isthan what he sees him as True, theis the culmination of the fantastical element but a reader could see this as part of the dereliction of an unreliable narrator The character s racism being part of that which eclipses his view of the totality of Slater his brother of light Of course, Lovecraft s letters and poem poems I m only aware of the one don t wish to mention the title provide context that seemingly obliterate my initial takeaways from Beyond but I truly do wish Lovecraft s flaws had cleared from his vision so that he could have seen that sort of kinship betwixt all people To be honest, had Lovecraft been working on that level, Beyond would probably merit a five star rating from me I guess it says something of how much I ve loved the handful of short stories I ve read so far that I thought that, despite his era, he might have the propensity to layer this particular story in such a way So, to that question of whether Lovecraft and his ilk retain their quality when they prove to be flawed humansIn Julien Barnes The Send of an Ending, there is a discussion between a teacher his students about history, i.e what is history One student, the one esteemed as a genius by teachers and peers, replies, That s one of the central problems of history, isn t it, sir The question of subjective versus objective interpretation, the fact that we need to know the history of the historian in order to understand the version that is being put in front of us While literature skews that slightly I don t believe readers must know the history of an author to find enjoyment or understanding in a story because those shades of enjoyment and understanding vary from person to person and, as such, are supremely subjective I think it s an apt quote in the argument of quality I don t see my foray into Lovecraft subsiding because of his racism but it does change the tenor of his voice what I might get from his other stories I don t think an artist s character should be separated from his work an artist s character gives another layer of understanding to what we re seeing what might be learned from it Even if that layer of understanding is the realization that talented writers are simply flawed human beings like the rest of us or that talent, even genius, though achieved in one area of a one s life doesn t remove one from striving to better ourselves the world around us, to being challenged by one s time instead of surrendering to it In all fairness, my rating might well be influenced by my research but I tried to focus on rating in comparison to the other short stories read Without that layer that I initially heard entwined throughout this character, the previous stories have beenenjoyable I do think I ll recall this short story if I ever find myself glaring a little too harshly at any future idols, however It s the first instance where I ve had that experience of initial interpretation vs author context and I m not quite sure whether it was just a matter of that being where my head was at the moment or, as mentioned above, I was just enjoying the previous stories to that extent seeing such a kinship with modern writing that Lovecraft s era potential personality didn t factor into things immediately. Read Here hattip to Glenn Opening I have frequently wondered if the majority of mankind ever pause to reflect upon the occasionally titanic significance of dreams, and of the obscure world to which they belong Whilst the greater number of our nocturnal visions are perhaps nothan faint and fantastic reflections of our waking experiences Freud to the contrary with his puerile symbolism there are still a certain remainder whose immundane and ethereal character permits of no ordinary interpretation, and whose vaguely exciting and disquieting effect suggests possible minute glimpses into a sphere of mental existence no less important than physical life, yet separated from that life by an all but impassable barrier.Joe Slaader is white trash from the isolated region of the Catskills MountainsLovecraft s stories are seriously unsettling yet this one held a wonderment.A month of Halloween 2015 reads 1 3 Nobody True by James Herbert fraudio 2 4 The Horror Stories of Robert E Howard fraudio 3 1 Brain Child by John Saul fraudio 4 3 Domain Rats 3 by James Herbert fraudio 5 3 The Mourning Vessels by Peter Luther paperback 6 2 The Doom of the Great City ebook short story 7 5 Long After Midnight by Ray Bradbury fraudio 8 5 The Dead Zone by Stephen King fraudio 9 CR The Chalice hardback 10 WL Seven Gothic Tales 11 CR Tales of Men and Ghosts gutenberg 12 2 Shattered by Dean Koontz fraudio 13 5 The Dunwich Horror e book gutenberg 14 CR Death At Intervals paperback 15 3 Alone gutenberg 16 CR The Shunned House gutenberg 17 CR The Thing on the Doorstep ebook 18 2 Shadows by Saul fraudio 19 CR Precious Cargo paperback 20 2 The Magicians of the Golden Dawn ebook 21 2 The Book of Black Magic 22 4 Beyond the Wall of Sleep I love H.P Lovecraft but HOLY SHIT he is extremely racist. A short but intriguing tale of a psychologist studying a hill billy who has psychotic episodes This story was written in 1919, when Lovecraft was only 29, but it is one of the most concentrated and effective tales of his early maturity It is based on a passage from an article in The New York Tribune How Our State Police Have Spurred Our Way to Fame, 4 27 19 , which uses a particularly degenerate family the Slaters or Slahters as a typical example of the decadent dwellers of the remote regions of the Catskills.In Lovecraft s story, an unnamed intern in a state psychopathic institution describes the strange behavior and visions of one Joe Slater or Slaader whom he observed and with whom he conversed It begins with this description of Slater his appearance was that of the typical denizen of the Catskill Mountain region one of those strange, repellent scions of a primitive colonial peasant stock whose isolation for nearly three centuries in the hilly fastnesses of a little travelled countryside has caused them to sink to a kind of barbaric degeneracy, rather than advance with theirfortunately placed brethren of the thickly settled districts Among these odd folk, who correspond exactly to the decadent element of white trash in the South, law and morals are non existent and their general mental status is probably below that of any other section of the native American people. Soon, though, our narrator, a constant speculator concerning dream life, begins to realize Joe s ravings and visions are quite extraordinary The sum of all my investigation was, that in a kind of semi uncorporeal dream life Slater wandered or floated through resplendent and prodigious valleys, meadows, gardens, cities, and palaces of light in a region unbounded and unknown to man That there he was no peasant or degenerate, but a creature of importance and vivid life moving proudly and dominantly, and checked only by a certain deadly enemy, who seemed to be a being of visible yet ethereal structure, and who did not appear to be of human shape, since Slater never referred to it as a man, or as aught save a thing This thing had done Slater some hideous but unnamed wrong, which the maniac if maniac he were yearned to avenge. It is then that the intern, wishing to learnthan the inarticulate speech of Joe can reveal, constructs an electronic apparatus by which he can himself can see and hear Joe s dreams His account of what he meets in that dreamworld comprises the rest of the story.Although I have little use for such cumbersome electronic devices some inexplicable mental sympathy between two beings is enough explanation for me I found the rest of the tale engrossing, and the intern s connection both to Slater and to Slater s dream self who is, in a real sense, not Slater to be emotionally moving and disturbing at the same time.All in all, a good tale, worth a try. The line between reality and dreams is blurring in this great short story Did Joe Slater, a degenerate hick, really kill a man or was he filled by another entity, something cosmic, something from beyond In this great story Lovecraft comes up with a first person narrator who uses modern radio technology to reveal Slater s secret page by page His superior doesn t believe him though he s fully convinced that he got a glimpse into another reality flying together with Joe Slater through a strange land Well written, eerie, fantastic, a symphony of dream and nightmare I can only recommend this accomplished story Lovecraft leads you into a dreamland you ll never forget


❮Read❯ ➵ Beyond the Wall of Sleep  ➸ Author H.P. Lovecraft –
  • Paperback
  • 50 pages
  • Beyond the Wall of Sleep
  • H.P. Lovecraft
  • English
  • 13 January 2017
  • 9781494389963

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