In 1912, William Hope Hodgson wrote the very long and very bizarre novel The Night Land. It’s one of those novels that seems like it’s more a D&D sourcebook than a novel. If I were running a fourth-edition game set in the Shadowfell, I’d actually take The Night Land over the D&D Gloomwrought boxed set.
The Night Land presents some obstacles to the reader. It’s written in High Faux Archaic, with a ratio of five semicolons to the period. It’s long and repetitive, describing every uneventful journey, camp, and meal break. It’s got weird gender politics, even for 1912. But it’s also got some powerful images. H. P. Lovecraft said of it, “The picture of a night-black, dead planet, with the remains of the human race concentrated in a stupendously vast metal pyramid and besieged by monstrous, hybrid, and altogether unknown forces of the darkness, is something that no reader can ever forget.”
Oddly, this book, which contains a great Shadowfell setting, starts with an evocation of its fourth-edition opposite, the Feywild. The main character and his soul mate have had shared dreams of Fairyland:
And one evening, that I ever remember, as we wandered in the park-lands, she began to say—-half unthinking-—that it was truly an elves-night. And she stopped herself immediately; as though she thought I should have no understanding; but, indeed, I was upon mine own familiar ground of inward delight; and I replied in a quiet and usual voice, that the Towers of Sleep would grow that night, and I felt in my bones that it was a night to find the Giant’s Tomb, or the Tree with the Great Painted Head, or-—And surely I stopped very sudden; for she gripped me in that moment, and her hand shook as she held me; but when I would ask her what ailed, she bid me, very breathless, to say on, to say on. And, with a half understanding, I told her that I had but meant to speak of the Moon Garden, that was an olden and happy fancy of mine.
Some good Feywild place names there! Also, you can see that I was not kidding about the semicolons.