Beyond the Wall of Sleep is one of H.P. Lovecraft‘s greatest short stories. It begins with a quote from Shakespeare: “I have an exposition of sleep come upon me.” It then goes into a wonderful mini-essay on the nature of dreams.
Whilst the greater number of our nocturnal visions are perhaps no more than 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. – H.P. Lovecraft
I think this is why it’s one of my favourite Lovecraft stories – there must be more to dreaming than we know. Do we really go somewhere else when we dream? Can we connect with other people and other beings?
From those blurred and fragmentary memories we may infer much, yet prove little.
Sometimes I believe that this less material life is our truer life, and that our vain presence on the terraqueous globe is itself the secondary or merely virtual phenomenon.
I found this incredible music which I believe is based on the story. It’s beautiful and eerie – well worth a listen! There’s a nine minute track which you can listen to for free.
Read the full story here.