The myth of a woodland landscape

The Sherwood syndrome: ‘We picture ancient Britain as a land of enchanted forests. That’s a fantasy: axes have been ringing for a very long time’ (at Aeon Magazine).

One only need look at the near-ecstatic reception given to Danny Boyle’s Olympic rendition of our ‘green and pleasant land’, complete with shire culture and hobbit mounds, to see how easily history elides with mythology. Britons are supremely comfortable with that blurring — with a mythic dimension that adds gravitas to our self-understanding, and that imbues the land with a kind of enchantment, a magical aspect that is echoed in our narratives of how we came to be a nation, but is as illusory as the Arthurian lake from which the Lady’s hand emerges to grasp the sword.

Sort of related, a nice woody video by Cyriak / a tiny house made out of a dumpster / a large classical structure designed for hens / Marzipan and Marmite, a weblog / Hilltoppers is the strangely compulsive ‘commuity soap opera’ set in Telegraph Hill, south London / North Korea’s Ryugyong ‘Hotel of Doom’ edges closes to completion / sort of related, the Counter-Tourism Handbook, ‘

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2 Responses to The myth of a woodland landscape

  1. Simon Fodden says:

    Apropos of Brit woodland, the Beeb story on a 5,000 year old oak:

  2. Steve Jones says:

    That Olympic intro was quite something, although I did get lost every so often as I wasn’t sure what they were trying to say here and there.

    I wonder if they didn’t sort of blur the lines on purpose those, you mention hobbit style mounds and since England doesn’t really have their own mythology due to the amount of cultures that are thrown into the mix, Tolkien’s could be considered our mythology in a way.

    There was a lot of symbolism and surreal elements in the intro, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Steve @ ArtGallery

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