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The City of Dreadful Night
James Thomson
Project Gutenberg
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The City of Dreadful Night is a long poem by the Scottish poet James "B.V." Thomson, written between 1870 and 1873. Thomson, who sometimes used the pseudonym "Bysshe Vanolis" — in honour of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Novalis — was a thorough pessimist, suffering from lifelong melancholia and clinical depression, as well as a wanderlust that took him to Colorado and to Spain, among other places. The City of Dreadful Night that gave its title to this poem, however, was made in the image of London. It is a London transformed by the eye of a despairing atheist; the poet has lost his faith and found nothing but emptiness to replace it.