I just read William Hope Hodgson's The House on the Borderland. Is the implication that the man's relationship with his live-in sister inclines to incest? Are the swine intended as symbols of lust (as is the classic interpretation of the pig)? Is there a psychological interpretation of his vision of the death of the universe?

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    Hey there, and welcome to the site! This is an interesting question, but it could greatly benefit from quotes from the book that relate to your question - for example, anything specific that leads you to believe it may be true, or the relevant section and context for where the pig shows up, would help substantiate the question a little.
    – user80
    Nov 27, 2017 at 6:26
  • The copy I read must have been an expurgated version, I can't remember any sex in it.
    – user14111
    Nov 27, 2017 at 6:59
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    @user14111 No there is none, of course, it was written in 1907. But he says his sister is the only women he ever loved. And the main reason he doenst move is that "she could not come to him anywhere else". Also the way it is set up, a portion of the manuscript is illegible. This is the part about visions of his sister. Finally, he tries to get nearer to the vision, but is denied. Well you put all this together, what is the conclusion ? Or am I wrong ? Nov 27, 2017 at 13:48
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    Is there a connection between your three questions here? (The one about incest, the one about swine, and the one about his vision?) If not, you might be better off posting them in three separate question posts so that they can be answered separately.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Nov 27, 2017 at 19:44
  • @Randal'Thor Well, yes I feel they are connected, at least the first two. They all go to the central theme, and understanding of the story. I am really hoping to find someone who has read the book and to have some interaction. Either they can confirm or reject my ideas. Nov 27, 2017 at 23:03

1 Answer 1


You are conflating the Recluse's sister, who is alive, with the Recluse's lost love, who is dead. He does get to spend eons cuddling with his lost love on the Sea of Sleep.

I see what you mean about the sister, but I don't think so. It is stated that his sister is his maid and cook. I didn't notice anything that implied she was more than that. He is closer to his dog Pepper than to her. When his dog turns into a pile of ash after millennia, he wonders if his sister met the same fate, but can't be bothered to find out. It seems like she is there only to, as a "weaker" person, almost succumb to the pigmen the way the Recluse succumbed to the giant, phosphorescent pigman at the end. And to make us wonder if he is imagining it all, since she never directly sees the pigmen.

  • Wow I did not catch that. Thanks finally for answering my question. I think I have failed to really understand what that book was about. May 18, 2018 at 18:51

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