Walking the Night Land: “The Dream of X”

The series on William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land and works it inspired continues.

Essay: “The Dream of X”, William Hope Hodgson, 1912.514fE9sRptL

This seems to have been a highly condensed (200,000 words down to 20,000) of The Night Land done in 1912 to protect Hodgson’s American copyright for that work.

Unsurprisingly, Hodgson maintains two things from the novel, the sinister and strange and inimical description of the Night Land in the beginning (the whole opening chapter about Mirdath in the past is gone) and the final dash for the Last Redoubt, Naani’s death, and resurrection.

Almost all the journey to the Lesser Redoubt and back is omitted though the meeting with Mirdath is presented in a shortened way and the style in the included section is not much different.

The story is presented as a charred manuscript found in a country house lived in by X and his wife Mirdath. The ambiguity about the validity of X’s vision of the future – real mental travel into the future or just imagination – is explicitly stated.

We get the same preface with a poem.

Both works conclude on the same splendid and elegant description of

LOVE doth mother Honour and Faithfulness; and they three to build the House of Joy.

Unsurprisingly, given that 90 percent of the novel was eliminated, it does not have the same effect on the reader. However, for those who want to know if they should read the whole novel, it gives some idea of the power of Hodgson’s imagination and the prose style.

 

More reviews of fantastic fiction are indexed by title and author/editor.

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