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Sat Aug 27th, 2016

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09:28 pm - The Haunted Landscape
The Old Straight Track to date is about as rivetting as an information sheet. So there's this tumulus that lines up with that hill that lines up with this standing stone that lines up with that other tumulus over there, as seen in the tiny chart with the illegible labels. If you were in situ- as possibly you're meant to be- it would be very useful. As it stands, erm well, not so much. Like that recent xkcd comic about the linear regressions and finding new constellations in the scatter plots.

But it does make me wonder why these neolithic burial sites that dot the English landscape all seem to be (to me at least) more resonant and unheimlich than other remains in other lands. Because the Japanese, say, have no Grendel and his Mum equivalents, no barrow wights, no things that come out of dark meres and tarns? Yes, they have pools haunted by kappa, but they also use kappa to advertise sake. No one cutesies up Grendel, had you noticed? The French have their menhirs and standing stones but the iron hand of rationality has squeezed any possibility of fantods out of them. They're what Obelix carries around. The Scandinavians- yeah, they do have haunted landscapes, I seem to recall, sunny and rational as they are the rest of the time.

But it's the English landscape that gives me the impression of deep time, of past piling up in an unpleasant way, and that so easily seems imbued an air of unplaceable menace. Cf Robert Holdstock, John Gordon, and Alan Garner (though oddly, I think he does it less subtly than the others.)

(2 comments | post comment)


[User Picture]
Date:September 8th, 2016 02:24 am (UTC)
Hmm, Neolithic and even later burial sites all give me fantods. Its the combination of primative manmade structures and supernatural. Gives very different seNSE from the more sophisticated constructions later.

Otoh the fancy tomb with all sort of rational provisions for the afterlife are not at all fantoddy.
[User Picture]
Date:September 8th, 2016 01:33 pm (UTC)
Agreed about stone age burials. These people Were Not Us, and might have been very Not Us. They belong to something beyond our rationality. It just seems that in England they marked the landscape far more than in other countries and so their ghosts feel more present. The Japanese left pottery; the British left tumuli and standing stones.

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