July 23, 2013
In some sense this blog post is a culmination of various streams of thoughts, with the heart of it remaining in Scotland. To begin with, the photo is one I had taken when I turned around physically from the photo I took in my last post regarding Glenfinnan (“Place as Evocative”). In the distance was this viaduct, specifically the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
This viaduct has recently become quite popular due to J.K.Rowling’s novels re Harry Potter; more precisely, it was used in the movie version of Harry Potter where the Hogwarts Express was seen transversing the countryside. In reality, it is a real steam train still in use today, but having had many different owners over the years. Seemingly, it was not a profitable route for a train until Harry Potter made it famous. [See the photo of the train on the viaduct; this photo is from Wikipedia.]
Obviously, there was a magnetism here for the imagination in this most picturesque of places that drew different historical events to converge on a singular point, namely, Glenfinnan. This will be my segue to the early 20th century writer, H.P. Lovecraft. Now, I grant you, this is quite a leap in association, but, if you think about it, it really is not. H.P. Lovecraft was a minor sci fi writer who had a great influence (despite not being that famous himself, in his time) on current day sci fi writers (e.g., Stephen King). One of the distinguishing features of Lovecraft was that he placed his stories in real places (principally, Providence) that one could find on a map. This somewhat minor point actually was quite powerful in lending credence to this tales.
So, in a sense, imagination melds with reality to produce a fuller picture of our vision of the world. All of this from a simple trip to Scotland. It beckons to be discovered…
July 20, 2013
This blog entry is a little difficult for me since I am trying to describe a feeling state brought about by being in a certain place and time. My guess is that this feeling state is what people throughout history talked about as having a vision or presence of the divine. After visiting the county side of Scotland, especially the Highlands, it became easy to imagine Scotish poets and writers as having their inspiration from their homeland. The majority of my time in Scotland the land was draped in roaming mists and low arching clouds, with light playing a game creating scenes where vapors appeared to take on human or animal forms in the pastures or suddenly appearing valleys or lake scapes. In other words, the land and space was alive or habitated where life should not be. The world was, quite frankly, enchanted.
This blog photo of Glenfinnan marks the spot where Prince Charles Edward Stuart reentered Scotland to meet with Highland Chieftains to start the Jacobite Rising, a series of encounters with Great Britain to regain the throne. When listening to Scots speak of these encounters with Great Britain, it seems to have happened in the recent past, but they occurred between 1715 and 1745. Needless to say, this is a wondrous spot. As will be seen in my next post this place also has a connection to the most recent literary past.
July 18, 2013
This is obviously a play on words for the phrase of “elegant sufficiency,” which probably originates from another Scotish poet, James Thomson. [Are you getting my drift here?] The photo is of the Elephant House in Edinburgh, Scotland, whose current notoriety is that it was the place where J.K.Rowling wrote a lot of her Harry Potter series.
As the story goes, Ms. Rowling used to see this boarding school across the way from where she sat at the Elephant House. As the inspiration would have it, this boarding school became Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in her novels.. This tea room or coffee shop, as one would have it, is nearly impossible to get a seating, simply due to the popularity of the Potter stories. After visiting Scotland I can see where Ms. Rowlings had a wealth of imagery to draw from in writing her tales. I will post more of the imagery in upcoming posts.
In closing, though, I must say that Edinburgh itself could easily have supplied material for many a fantastic story or tale. Would that I had been born in Ediburgh or the Highlands. Alas, laddie, that would be a wee bit much to ask!
July 17, 2013
My absence of entries in this blog can be excused (I think) based on the fact that I had revisited the inspiration for this web site, namely, Brigadoon (the Americanization based on Lerner & Loewe’s musical; also, see my original entry regarding this in the introduction to the PaduaPrep.com website). As you may have figured out, this inspiration has a somewhat complex mythological history. There is a cross-cultural myth in Germany where it is known as Germelshausen. This is further intertwined by the fact that William E. Leffingwell chose the name American Nauheim alluding to the country of his inspiration (Germany) for the Glen Springs at Watkins Glen.
Be that as it may, this whole blog entry really wants to state the obvious, or maybe not so obvious, that the real inspiration for PaduaPrep.com lay in the subconscious minds of the Scotch. This last statement may be a bit much to swallow, so I will have a series of blog entries relating to this.
To begin with, my disclaimer is that I have become enamored with the spirit and strength of the Scottish people. I never realized they were as oppressed as any other minority in Europe. It took a trip to Edinburgh and the Highlands to discover this fact. What I also discovered was the mystery of the land. The geography and climate of that countryside create an atmosphere of wild imaginings and mystery I have not experienced anywhere else. If a people and the land are united in creating a culture, then that explains why there have been so many literary greats that have called their homeland Scotland.
The photo is of Brig o’ Doon, the subject of which is from Robert Burn’s poem Tam o’ Shanter. In honesty, I must say I did not actually visit this site, but I must say I did experience that soul of the countryside that hints at why the Scots so love their land and heritage. By the way, it seems this very bridge also inspired Lerner & Loewe in writing their musical.