Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Bad Dream

Wednesday 12 September (1923): I had a most horrible dream. By a certain poetic justice it turned on the idea which Jenkin and I were going to use in our shocker play: namely that of a scientist discovering how to keep consciousness and some motor nerves alive in a corpse, at the same time arresting decay, so that you really had an immortal deadman. I dreamed that the horrible thing was sent to us--in a coffin of course--to take care of.

D and Maureen* both came into the dream and it was perfectly ordinary and as vivid as life. Finally the thing escaped and I fancy ran amuck. It pursued me into a lift in the Tube in London. I got away all right but the liftman had seen it and was terribly frighted and, when I saw how he was behaving, I said to myself, "There's going to be an accident in this lift." Just at that moment I noticed the window by my bed and found myself awake.

I had a moment of intense relief but found myself hopelessly rattled and as nervous as a child. I found I had no matches. Groped my way to those on the landing, lit my candle, went downstairs and returned with a pipe and a book. My head was very bad. [...] I thought at first that this was a good example of the falsity of the rule given by L.P. Jacks that authors never dream about their own inventions: but on second thoughts I am not sure that the idea of the play did not originate in another dream I had some years ago -- unless the whole thing comes from Edgar Allen Poe...
~C.S. Lewis, All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C.S. Lewis 1922 - 1927, (1991)

*Mrs. Moore and her daughter

2 Comment(s):

At Thu Nov 10, 06:01:00 AM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

His diary is very interesting to me. You can see the story seeds for some of his later works--this story idea is of course fully "fleshed-out" in That Hideous Strength.

At Fri Nov 11, 04:21:00 AM EST, Blogger MrKimi said...

I don't have my Poe handy but he may be thinking of the story where the protagonist mesmerised a man on the point of death and he kind of stayed alive for months. It was horrible, of course.


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