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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Isn't it fun to be lost in the woods?

This bit is further to Heart of Darkness in Southern Uplands.

Following up Merlin in the Southern Uplands, found a lengthy and rather academic article by August Hunt on The Spirit of the Woods [Merlin]

There is also an ace project to re-forest a nearby area with native species , rather than Sitka bloody spruce.


The Merlin article is at


and gives the Procopius quote :

The ancient Classical writer Procopius (in his HISTORY OF THE WARS, VIII, XX. 42-48) said:

“Now in this island of Britain the men of ancient times built a long wall, cutting off a large part of it; and the climate and the soil and everything else is not alike on the two sides of it. For to the south of the wall there is a salubrious air, changing with the seasons, being moderately warm in summer and cool in winter… But on the north side everything is the reverse of this, so that it is actually impossible for a man to survive there even a half-hour, but countless snakes and serpents and every other kind of wild creature occupy this area as their own. And, strangest of all, the inhabitants say that if a man crosses this wall and goes to the other side, he dies straightway… They say, then, that the souls of men who die are always conveyed to this place.”

And some interesting placename research involving Norse origin of 'tarn', which indirectly supports my argument that some Norse looking place names - like holm - are original late dark ages ones rather than being introduced later via settlers from north England in the middle ages. Also (as Tolstoy does) uses the psuedo Arthurian 'Romance of Fergus' as a source - which may or may not have a connection with Fergus of Galloway..

Mind you, I have also been reading a more recent edition of Conrad's Heart of Darkness which includes tons of scholarly notes and references - the fetishisation of the text?


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