Short Story Review: "Ex Oblivione" by H. P. Lovecraft
This short piece, part of Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle, is about a man who appears to be dying or at least chronically ill. His life is dull and only in his dreams does he experience any beauty. In his dreams, he wanders “through old gardens and enchanted woods.”
As he dream-walks, he discovers a valley that leads to “shadowy groves ad ruins,” and ends in a wall pierced by a little gate of bronze. He knows that if he passes through that gate, he’ll never return to the real, dull world. He just can’t figure out how to open the gate, where he expects to find an unending paradise, a garden of wonder.
According to Wikipedia, this story was inspired in part by Lovecraft’s reading of the works or Arthur Schopenhauer. I don’t know much about Schopenhauer other than his number is not one people call for a good time.
There is sadness in this, especially given that Lovecraft was still relatively young—about 30—when he wrote this. It’s a nice, dreamy little story, though.
Title: “Ex Oblivione” written 1921 first published under the pseudonym Ward Phillips in United Amateur March 1921
Author: H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937)
Last review: “The Mass of Shadows” by Anatole France
Last Lovecraft review: “ The Mound ”
© 2015 Denise Longrie
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