The childhood of Lucian Taylor in rural Wales is recounted, particularly the old Roman fort where Lucian has strange, sensual visions of the town in the time of Roman Britain. Further description of Lucian's adult attempts to make a living as an author in London, and the poverty and suffering that is found in the pursuit of art.
en, the cabinets for many years of his lonely meditations. Every path about his home, every field and hedgerow had dear and friendly memories for him; and the odor of the meadowsweet was better than the incense steaming in the sunshine. He loitered, and hung over the stile till the far-off woods began to turn purple, till the white mists were wreathing in the valley.
Day after day, through all that August, morning and evening were wrapped in haze; day after day the earth shimmered in the heat, and the air was strange, unfamiliar. As he wandered in the lanes and sauntered by the cool sweet verge of the woods, he saw and felt that nothing was common or accustomed, for the sunlight transfigured the meadows and changed all the form of the earth. Under the violent Provençal sun, the elms and beeches looked exotic trees, and in the early morning, when the mists were thick, the hills had put on an unearthly shape.
The one adventure of the holidays was the visit to the Roman fort, to that fantast
This is Machen's masterpiece. Not a word I use lightly. Machen's descriptive powers are at their height here and his ability to decribe physical and psychological landscapes is nowhere more evident than in this book. The writing builds as the story progresses and the ending is the strongest I have ever read; it makes 'The Turn of the Screw' look like a damp squib. If you never read anything else by this writer, please, read this. If there's any humanity in you at all, it will have you staring at the wall for an hour after you finish it. Really.