Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dreams within Dreams

Catalyst Theatre's Nevermore.  Image: Catalyst Theatre.

Edgar Allan Poe: "All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."  Thanks to my friend T. for telling me about an award-winning production called Nevermore developed and performed by the Catalyst Theatre in New York.  She was so impressed by the Canadian company that she's going back to see it again before it closes on November 7th.  Nevermore is a fantastical gothic dramatization of the life of Edgar Allan Poe.

Epilogue to Nevermore. By Catalyst Theatre. Video Source: Youtube.

The motto of the Catalyst production is taken from the 1849 poem, A Dream Within a DreamWiki provides the following analysis of the poem:
A Dream Within a Dream reflects Poe's feelings about his life at the time, dramatizing his confusion in watching the important things in his life slip away. Realizing he cannot hold onto even one grain of sand leads to his final question that all things are a dream. The poem references "golden sand," an image derived from the 1848 discovery of gold in California. Alternately, it may be interpreted that the "golden sand" is an allusion to the author's loved ones, and that each is inevitably swept away by death (the pitiless wave), no matter how tight a clasp the author tries to retain them with.
A Dream Within a Dream (1849)

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Poe's works were adapted by the Alan Parsons Project for their 1976 debut LP called Tales of Mystery and Imagination; the 1987 version had an introductory lyrical prologue read by Orson Welles, which you can watch on Youtube here.  A track from the same album, The Fall of the House of Usher, is here and here.  His reading of the lyrics below is here.

For my own part, I have never had a thought
Which I could not set down in words
With even more distinctness that which I conceived it.
There is however a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy
Which are not thoughts and to which as yet
I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt to language.
These fancies arise in the soul,
Alas how rarely, only at epochs
Of most intense tranquillity
When the bodily and mental health are in perfection.
And those mere points of time
When the confines of the waking world
Blend with the world of dreams.
And so I captured this fancy
Where all that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

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