The story everyone has trouble pronouncing, is nothing less than a trip. A far better trip than the previous White Ship (though perhaps an interesting spinoff if that truly is the Captain from the ship that makes an appearance part way through). Celephais refers to a great city that will prove much more important in later Lovecraft works. It is the great city of the Dreamlands, created by the dreaming mind of an English lord. In the Dreamlands he is known as Kuranes. Though his real name is never given, he is perhaps the embodiment of other writers that Lovecraft was so influenced by at this stage of his career, namely Lord Dunsany and Ambrose Bierce.
Like most of the Dreamland stories, Celephais was inspired by an actual dream Lovecraft experienced. In the dream HPL felt his body flying over a great imaginary city. Similar to Lord Dunsany’s tale ‘The Coronation of Mr. Thomas Shap’, the protagonist becomes so engrossed in his imagined world, creating newer and grander vistas that his physical body is soon lost.
Again, this tale serves as little more than a trip to a strange unknown plane. A prelude to the future Dreamland Cycle.
If you’d like to experience the dreaming splendor of Celephais, you can read the entire text here: HPL’s Celephais
|Illustration by Jeff Powers © 2013|