Review of “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” (1919)
H. P. Lovecraft (writer).
Lovecraft tries to combine the motifs of white trash, literally and figuratively cosmic forces indifferent to humankind, and dreaming. The ultimate result, “explaining” a nova as the result of a spirit that inhabited a man, is evocative and silly in equal measure, approaching the pathetic fallacy and human chauvinism that Lovecraft later opposed. For a less anthropocentric, more beautifully written take on the concept of a stupid man with an interesting supernatural night life, see “In the Cliff Land of the Dane” (1919).