Examples of fiction books based on dreams?
January 24, 2010 12:58 PM   Subscribe

The story of Stuart Little is supposedly based on a dream E.B. White had while sleeping on a train. Can you give more examples of books that are directly based on an author's dreams (or nightmares)?
posted by iamisaid to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Kubla Khan, which Coleridge said came to him in a dream although his opiate use probably helped quite a bit...
posted by pupdog at 1:00 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

perfect fifths is the fifth and final novel in a series. the author, Megan McCafferty, was going to stop after 4, but she had a dream and said that when she woke up, she knew there would be a fifth.
posted by gursky at 1:05 PM on January 24, 2010

At a risk of derailing, "The Person from Porlock was an unwelcome visitor to Samuel Taylor Coleridge during his composition of the poem Kubla Khan. Coleridge claimed to have perceived the entire course of the poem in a dream (possibly an opium-induced haze), but was interrupted by this visitor from Porlock (a town in the South West of England, near Exmoor) while in the process of writing it. Kubla Khan, only 54 lines long, was never completed."
posted by lungtaworld at 1:08 PM on January 24, 2010

The ubiquitous Twilight was dream-based--at least the nauseating scene where Edward first sparkles.
posted by girlbowler at 1:11 PM on January 24, 2010

J.K Rowling said that Harry Potter walked fully formed into her head whilst she was daydreaming on a long train journey.
posted by Neonshock at 1:14 PM on January 24, 2010

"Lovecraft's inspiration for his writings came from his dreams... in a letter, he describes a nightmare concerning Nyarlathotep, one of the Great Old Ones:

As I was drawn into the abyss I emitted a resounding shriek, and the picture ceased. I was in great pain - forehead pounding and ears ringing - but I had only one automatic impulse - to write and preserve the atmosphere of unparalelled fright; and before I knew it, I had pulled on the light and was scribbling desperately. ...When fully awake I remembered all the incidents but had lost the exquisite thrill of fear - the actual sensation of the presence of the hideous unknown." (source)
posted by Ljubljana at 1:30 PM on January 24, 2010

Nightmare-wise, the horror-writer Thomas Ligotti has stated in interviews that some of his short stories have been drawn from dreams: The Bungalow House, for example, and The Cocoons.
posted by misteraitch at 1:41 PM on January 24, 2010

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde:

"In the small hours of one morning," says Mrs Stevenson, "I was awakened by cries of horror from Louis. Thinking he had a nightmare, I woke him. He said angrily, 'Why did you wake me? I was dreaming a fine bogey tale.' I had awakened him at the first transformation scene ..."

Lloyd Osbourne, Stevenson's stepson, remembers, "I don't believe that there was ever such a literary feat before as the writing of Dr Jekyll. I remember the first reading as if it were yesterday. Louis came downstairs in a fever; read nearly half the book aloud; and then, while we were still gasping, he was away again, and busy writing. I doubt if the first draft took so long as three days".
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:01 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm sure Frankenstein was based on a dream.
posted by Jazzwick at 2:33 PM on January 24, 2010

Robert Browning's poem Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came came to him in a dream.
posted by jquinby at 4:33 PM on January 24, 2010

I asked a similar question recently and got a lot of really great answers.
posted by lhall at 4:58 PM on January 24, 2010

From a letter by Horace Walpole, Mar 9, 1765:
I waked one morning in the beginning of last June from a dream, of which all I could recover was, that I thought myself in an ancient castle (a very natural dream for a head filled like mine with Gothic story) and that on the uppermost bannister of a great staircase I saw a gigantic hand in armour. In the evening I sat down and began to write, without knowing in the least what I intended to say or relate.
This dream was probably inspired by Piranesi's etching from Carceri d'Invenzione: giant helmet. The book Walpole wrote, The Castle of Otranto, is usually marked as the first gothic novel.
posted by Paragon at 5:05 PM on January 24, 2010

Philip K. Dick's VALIS trilogy is based on some pretty wacky visions he had.
posted by anotherthink at 10:25 AM on January 25, 2010

John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress is supposed to have been inspired by a dream.
posted by JDHarper at 8:43 PM on January 31, 2010

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