A literary walk from The Friends of Arthur Machen February 11th 2007, 2pm
By the steps to south entrance of the British Museum, Great Russell Street,
look for the mysterious, decadent Welshman clutching a copy of Arthur Machen's The Hill of Dreams, and join him on a free walk through Machen's London, with readings from the decadent masterpiece to mark the centenary of its publication.
"All London was one grey temple of an awful rite, ring within ring of wizard stones circled about some central place, every circle was an initiation, every initiation eternal loss."
Arthur Machen, The Hill of Dreams
The year 2007 marks the sixtieth anniversary of Arthur Machen's death. It is also the centenary of the publication of The Hill of Dreams in February, and is also the 110th anniversary of Machen completing the book in 1897. On Sunday February 11th there will be an intrepid venture into the territory of The Hill of Dreams, when The Friends of Arthur Machen and any others who wish to celebrate Machen will gather to mark the centenary of what most consider Machen's greatest work. The Hill of Dreams is a semi-autobiographical work which follows the career of a young writer from his strange visions of his Welsh homeland, on to London where his bleak wanderings across the vast metropolis are described in Machen’s lush prose. It has been described as "the most Decadent book in English Literature" , Henry Miller called it "a dream of a book", and H.P. Lovecraft said it was the "memorable epic of the sensitive Aesthetic mind". It was written by Machen in complete defiance of the moral panic following the trial of Oscar Wilde in 1895, remaining unpublished for ten years as a result.
We will wander through Machen's London, accompanied by readings from The Hill of Dreams, in search of scenes that inspired the book's tragic protagonist, Lucian Taylor. Our ultimate destination: "the blazing public-houses as the doors swung to and fro, and above these doors were hideous brassy lamps, very slowly swinging in a violent blast of air, so that they might have been infernal thuribles, censing the people".
The Friends of Arthur Machen World Fantasy Award Nominee 2006 www.machensoc.demon.co.uk