Tue Jan 28th, 2014
|06:21 pm - Gifts fom the Friends' FL|
If you need a concrete example of how I define fantoddy, this picture gets it in one. Mind, Caspar David Friedrich pretty much had fantod in his blood.
As an example
and a third.
Nothing definably wrong, nothing at all right. The way an MR James story feels before the horrors start to appear.
(Note also, other online versions of A Walk at Dusk make it look much more crepuscular.)
Aaaugh you had to remind me...!!!!
Yes- *exactly* Count Magnus.
'Salright. I never could précise what nasty shadow from the past Friedrichs was invoking, and now I know...
...though maybe it's The Mezzotint more? Remembering stories after half a century ain't easy, but Magnus was medieval, right? (with the lifting coffin lid oh rats...) Don't tell me what happens in The Mezzotint, because that at least I've forgotten, but I thought it was 18th century?
The mezzotint itself was done in 1805, from the text of the story, when they manage to find some information about the location:
16-1/2 miles, _Anningley_. [...] The family is now extinct, the last heir having disappeared mysteriously in infancy in the year 1802. The father, Mr Arthur Francis, was locally known as a talented amateur engraver in mezzotint. After his son's disappearance he lived in complete retirement at the Hall, and was found dead in his studio on the third anniversary of the disaster, having just completed an engraving of the house, impressions of which are of considerable rarity.
They don't actually date the main activity of the story, except that it's later than that and has more of a "current" feeling about it. Albeit within the walls of a university.
So the past action did happen in the early 19th century, contemporaneously to Friedrichs. And is the mezzotint a dark picture with obscure Things in it, or is that memory gone wonky?
The mezzotint in question is apparently a fairly undistinguished landscape picture, with a house and surrounding lands/trees. A clear enough picture, but not very interesting: the buyer is rather surprised that the seller was asking as much money for it as he had. Later on, other figures become distinct in the picture, at different points of observation.
(I will admit to just having reread the story on Gutenberg while finding that earlier quote. My memory isn't that good. :))
And I just read a synopsis. There's a Thing one can discern creeping across the lawn, and the Thing is probably not alive any more. Ohhh I hate/ love James.
Do not look too closely at those evening shadows in Friedrichs. There's nothing there that you can see.
Funny, I thought I knew what was meant by the fantods-feeling, but those pictures don't evoke that for me at all. They provoke a sense of mysterious sublimity that make me want to walk into the landscape until I lose sight of the starting point. It's a gut-feeling very akin to fear, but not of fear -- one I used to get a lot from exploring as a child, and now get very little.
I think I know what you mean about mysterious sublimity, and I almost see why Friedrich would inspire that; but for me the essence of fantoddery is the feel of something indefinably but definitely *wrong*, in an unnatural and possibly hostile way, and the equally undefined anxiety that goes with it.
The emotion might be foreign to those without anxiety disorders. Then it would all just be strange and wonderful, and the fluttery feeling is expectation, not fear.
That second example ... is pretty creepy ... especially after I clicked on the 'magnify' button...
I can see why you would feel the anxiety.