The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
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The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  3,233 ratings  ·  129 reviews
Six bone-chilling tales of bizarre beauty and awesome horror lurk in the dark of the soul, waiting to be called upon by the demons of nightmares, and let loose in the frightened mind. Only H.P. Lovecraft could conjure up these testaments to evil that will live inside of you forever....
Mass Market Paperback, 241 pages
Published February 12th 1982 by Del Rey (first published 1943)
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H. P. Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is one of his fantasy, rather than horror, stories. Lovecraft was very much influenced by the great British fantasist Lord Dunsany. It’s exactly what the title says it is – it’s a dream quest, wherein the great dreamer Randolph Carter dreams a dream to find the fabulous sunset city which he has so far never quite been able to reach in his dreams, because the gods (possibly the gods of Earth, or the more mysterious outer gods) have prevented him...more
Oct 26, 2012 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love words and lush prose
Shelves: ebook
Synopsis: Three times Randolph Carter dreamed of the marvelous city, and three times was he snatched away while still he paused on the high terrace above it. All golden and lovely it blazed in the sunset, with walls, temples, colonnades and arched bridges of veined marble, silver-basined fountains of prismatic spray in broad squares and perfumed gardens, and wide streets marching between delicate trees and blossom-laden urns and ivory statues in gleaming rows; while on steep northward slopes cli...more
Dan Henk
I think Lovecraft often gets a bad rap. People read that he influenced the modern greats, everyone form authors like Stephen King and Clive Barker, to movie makers like John Carpenter and Wes Craven, and then dive into his books expecting the same fare. He wrote for a different era. His mind-bending, first person surrealistic approach to a creeping, nameless horror stunned and fascinated huge segments of early century America. The America that read, that is, which wasn't nearly what it is today....more
Nate D
Back in college, I worked for a few semesters shelving books in the sub-basements of the library, which for some reason set it's 3 floor at ground level. Two floors below that was a largely-ignored fiction section, dimly lit by flickering lights that turned off automatically when no one was around. The farther corners never really got direct light, giving the whole space a perfect kind of eerie-cozy twilight feel, and in retrospect, it was a pretty amazing place to work. Not least because I usua...more
When I was a kid I always found myself drawn to exploring the many drawers and cabinets that seemed to multiply through the floors of our home, in particular I was always attracted to one low drawer filled with paperback novels , many of them pulp romances and mysteries but including a boxed set of the tales of H. P. Lovecraft, the master of the so-called "cosmic horror" genre. While considered by many to be racist, pulp trash, so that some libraries are only now including him in their collectio...more
Alan Smith
H P Lovecraft is best known as a writer of highly original, wordy and grotesque horror tales, based on the premise that a displaced pantheon of evil tentacled gods lurk just outside our own ordered, settled world, and are only a hairsbreadth away from breaking back in and tearing the universe apart. But many may not be aware that there is a gentler side to the Providence Dreamer.

Now, speaking of this particular author's "gentle side" might seem as weird as anything he ever wrote, but in the earl...more
Dana Campbell
Reading this was like slogging through quicksand. I wanted to enjoy it, I really did, but I just couldn't. I read at least 50 pages a day. This 101 page book took me the entire month to read. It's like Lovecraft sat down and said how many elaborate adjectives can I fit into each sentence. I have an expansive vocabulary so I only had to lookup a word every few pages but I can imagine most people would need a dictionary every few sentences. Also nothing happens. The book over there the most terrif...more
the most boring lovecraft i have ever read. a lot of mythology here but not really much story. more of a travelogue -- it's back on the shelf. not sure when i will finish it.


i did go back and finish it but i must say it was excruciating. again, this is the disappointment i felt when i began to read lord dunsany who had been cited as influential by so many, and found that there really wasn't much of a story but rather a beautiful picture of strange places and people. so sadly, i will not...more
~The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is like "reading a painting", so vivid, yet so unreal.~

There is something odd about this book, making it almost impossible to categorize it as "good" or "bad", since it defies so much the common way fantasy literature is perceived. It is of short volume, but of perfect size for the story it is to portray.

The main character is on a quest which purpose is difficult to fully understand, of background that is not fully apparent and of determination which drive is...more
First, this one is just for the hardcore Lovecraft fan. One thing that one must keep in mind is that this is basically a first draft, Lovecraft wrote it, decided that it was bad and put it in a drawer, it was published just after his death.

Here Lovecraft delves deep in his Dream World and in all craziness of dreams in general (or at least his dreams, which were certainly way crazier than mine), I guess one could say that this story is a weird mixture of Alice, Oz and Lovecratian horror (although...more
This book was my introduction to the worlds of HP Lovecraft. I found it in the library, was enthralled for some reason by the title, and took it home to read it. Unfortunately, I took it back when I was done. It took me another eight years to find the Ballantine paperback, when a whole series of HPL was published. Because I remembered this book so fondly, I bought the whole series sight unseen, and have never had a second thought about that decision. tDQoUK is extremely accessible to readers of...more
How have I never read this before? Seriously?!

I may be in the minority here, but this is by far my favorite Lovecraft work. His usually overinflated prose really, really works in this setting. The story in general maintains an otherworldly feel throughout, and there are so many cool elements and ideas mentioned that’s it’s impossible to keep track.

Also, check this out...

This map of the Dreamlands makes a great supplement to the reading.
Greg Pfister
Note: This is a review of the novel "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath," not of anything else in the referenced book.

A small sliver of rich, NY-style cheesecake is great. Eating the whole cheesecake would make me feel ill.

That's how I feel about The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft is fine, for me, in small doses like short stories or novellas. This sucker is at least over a hundred pages long (hard to tell since I'm reading it as a chapter in a Kindle omnibus edition...more
Kadath is where Lovecraft goes all Tolkien.

No, wait, come back!

I know it sounds unlikely. But think about it : the two man had more similarities then you could see at first glance. Most importantly, they were both time-travellers : men from another time who were dommed to forever lament some real or unreal lost age of greatness, light and wonder. We all know what Tolkien created to express that. He was a man from another time, obsessed with England's history and ancient cultures. He hated many o...more
I read this novella as a stand-alone in an anthology; so there were no breaks in the story like what you might expect in a book solely dedicated to it, or in a grouping. Dream-Quest is a lengthy - perhaps the longest - Lovecraft short. It is a continuation to "The Silver Key". Here, our favorite dreamer Randolph Carter, continues his fantastical journey through Dreamland; a perilous mission to plead with the Gods to allow him entrance into his great lost childhood city, Sunset City.

The body of w...more
Mark R.

I like the Del Rey Lovecraft collections for a couple of reasons, mainly the beautifully hideous cover art by Michael Whelan that accompanies each paperback book. As a child, these covers intrigued me. I didn't start reading Lovecraft till I was a bit older--probably for the best, as I'm sure a lot of the prose would have gone right over my twelve-year-old head--and these were the books I sought out.

This particular collection contains six Lovecraft stories from his "Dream Cycle," including...more
I must admit, at first I thought that this was going to be yet another pointless and imballanced pure fiction story, where the author rolls out his private trips and fantasies which could be interesting and mean a lot to him subjectively, but are mostly boring and lacking any real interaction for the readers. It truly started off like that, with Randolph Carter traveling around the Dreamland, through forests, cities and high seas, meeting a lot of strange creatures in the process, escaping numer...more
Matt Skeels
The story "The Dream-Quest of unknown Kadath" is a frustrating exercise in tolerance. Huge blocks of paragraphs from beginning to end. No natural dialog. And the story bounces around between locales as if only to add some girth and a little needed action to a boring prose. I've read good Lovecraft stories, but Unknown Kadath is not it. The ending leaves you completely underwhelmed. I mean, it was just a dream after all. It said so up front and in the opening pages. They often say that it's the j...more
Despite the author's reputation, this is not horror. It is exotic, Orientalist phantasy, with some of the most extraordinary weird imagery in imaginative fiction. Although written while under the influence of Lord Dunsany and William Beckford's Vathek, Lovecraft synthesized his own mythos into their styling, creating a hallucinatory literary quest of unparalleled originality.
The main story has a surprisingly rousing fantasy plot - not actually horror like you'd usually expect from Lovecraft. Another story in the collection Beyond the Gates of the Silver Key features the most imagination I've ever seen from Lovecraft. Definitely a must read collection for any Lovecraft fan.
Coiote Flores

"(...) sua vida ficou privada de direção e interesse dramático até que, finalmente, trataram de afogar seu tédio na agitação e pretensa utilidade, no barulho e na excitação, nas exibições bárbaras e nas sensações animais. Quando essas coisas perderam o ímpeto, desapontaram ou se tornaram insuportavelmente nauseantes, passaram a cultivar a ironia e a amargura, e descobriram o erro na ordem social. Jamais conseguiram perceber que seus sólidos alicerces eram tão mutáveis e contraditórios q...more
Jesper Lie
The only author who´s grave I have visited on purpose....

Providence, new england
Randolph Carter
Of the "stories" in this book I would only call The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath a classic. Even so, Kadath itself meanders all over the place and parts of it vary greatly in quality. I admittedly am not a big fan of Lovecraft's "prose poem" dream-cycle stuff, preferring his horror and scifi stuff (yes, The Whisperer in Darkness is a scifi story, not a horror story). It's better than his poetry, but... Writers like Dunsany and Eddison and Machen did this sort of thing much better than Lovecraft...more
Randolph Carter
Of the "stories" in this book I would only call The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath a classic. Even so, Kadath itself meanders all over the place and parts of it vary greatly in quality. I admittedly am not a big fan of Lovecraft's "prose poem" dream-cycle stuff, preferring his horror and scifi stuff (yes, The Whisperer in Darkness is a scifi story, not a horror story). It's better than his poetry, but... Writers like Dunsany and Eddison and Machen did this sort of thing much better than Lovecraft...more
Recueil de nouvelles, Les contrées du rêve, regroupe un ensemble de textes écrits en marge des romans de Lovecraft. Bien qu’elles n’aient rien à voir avec le mythe de Chtulluh, développé par l’auteur, on en retrouve des éléments, surtout à partir de l’apparition de Randolph Carter, personnage central des trois / quatre dernières nouvelles.

Le ton des premiers textes est résolument tourné vers la fantasmagorie et l’onirisme (ce qui est le moins qu’on puisse attendre des contrées du rêve), et reste...more
H.P Lovecraft's "Potraga za neznanim Kadathom"... Kad krenete čitati neko od Lovecraftovih dijela, više-manje znate što možete očekivati, jezovitu priču nastanjeno bezbožnim i neopisivim užasima s ove ili one strane sna. Više sam pristaša i fan njegovih kraćih pripovijedaka, gdje su zaplet i rasplet puno efektniji i kompaktniji. Kod njegovih romana znam imati osjećaj da opisivanje ide unedogled, budući da posjeduje rijedak jezoviti dar opisivanja neopisivnog iz trećeg lica. Skoro da i nema dijal...more
This was the first Lovecraft I've read and the version I got seemed to only include the one story rather than all 6 so I might have to try and track down a better copy.

I found it a bit disorientating there was little information on what was going on what things were or much in the way of character development. We have the main character Carter who wants to see some city he dreams about so sets off to talk to the gods. It was unclear for a while that he was doing this in some sort of dream world...more
Phil Slattery
I am a Lovecraft fan, but I find "The Dream-Quest..." very tough reading. Though I want to finish it, it is very tough going. The language is cumbersome and the plot is just Randolph Carter escaping one bad situation after another by luck. Still, I am only about half-way through, and the optimistic side of me keeps hoping it gets better. I don't have much hope though, particularly after reading part of the Wikipedia article on it, which gives Lovecraft's own views, which echo my own:

"Lovecraft h...more
This is the third book by H.P. Lovecraft that I've read. Had it been the first, I would never have read another one. The title novella, "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath", was incredibly dull and tedious to read. For most of its 141 pages, the story is nothing but descriptive passages telling us not only what happens in the tale, but what was said without actually quoting a line of dialog, making the story about as interesting to read as an instruction manual. When a character is *finally* allo...more
Like the rest of the dream cycle by the greatest writer of grotesque supernatural sci-fi fantasy horror weird fiction, Lovecraft's Dream-Quest is a monolith of imagination and creativity. A haunting and ethereal atmosphere pervades it, his masterfully envisioned creatures populate it, his mythical gods sit just beyond the reach of the eye, ominous adventure runs through its veins, and connections to his other stories are scattered through out the pages.

Conceptually, this novella is one of the p...more
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Howard Phillips Lovecraft, of Providence, Rhode Island, was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction.

Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror: life is incomprehensible to human minds and the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a...more
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“But the ship swept on, and the dusk hushed the hum of the day, and the first stars above blinked answers to the early fireflies on the banks as that jungle fell far behind, leaving only its fragrance as a memory that it had been.” 7 likes
“Well did the traveler know those garden lands that lie betwixt the wood of the Cerenerian Sea, and blithely did he follow the singing river Oukranos that marked his course. The sun rose higher over gentle slopes of grove and lawn, and heightened the colors of the thousand flowers that starred each knoll and dangle. A blessed haze lies upon all this region, wherein is held a little more of the sunlight than other places hold, and a little more of the summer's humming music of birds and bees; so that men walk through it as through a faery place, and feel greater joy and wonder than they ever afterward remember.” 6 likes
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