The SFFaudio Podcast #503 – Jesse and Evan Lampe talk about The Wood Beyond The World by William Morris
Talked about on today’s show:
1894/1896, novel?, fairy tale, romance, one of the first fantasy novels set in a secondary world, why people point to this, a pseudo-medieval style, very soothing, hypnotically engaged, The Magic Flute, tied to our world, utopias, many interesting connections out of this, how impressive it is, the power this book has is not in itself, J.R.R. Tolkien, modern traditional fantasy in novel length (or trilogy length), it gives fantasy its modern shape, medivale in manners and technology, “bend the knee”, George R.R. Martin’s Game Of Thrones, re-entered the lexicon, coming from science fiction fandom, something Promethean about science fiction, Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, The Return Of The King, a conservatism in fantasy, what a socialist would do with fantasy, News From Nowhere, forward looking anti-capitalism vs. backward looking anti-capitalism, radical elements, not a conservative tale, George R.R. Martin, everything that’s disgusting, George R.R. Martin is the anti-Tolkien, Tolkienesque, a little talk of war, getting into the groove, difficult but rewarding, The Night Land as Hodgson’s take on The Wood Beyond The World, dying earth, quest, Supernatural Horror In Literature, potent, old fashioned language, Thomas Malory, William Shakespeare, 600 years ago, fetishizing of strange words, bucking people off, the Wikipedia entry, Golden Walter and the maid, a goddess and a slave and a mistress, the dwarf, powers, in control of so much of the story, radicalism, a slave revolt, commute listening, Cori Samuel’s narration, the language, more time, themes he’s working with, the old coincidence formula, the only through-line is that is a book, are the bear people actually bears or are they actually people?, interbreeding, orcs, more like vikings, values, a humanoid creature, something feral, Beowulf, what’s going on in the woods, about Morris’ own life, a fascinating powerful figure, socialist, anti-capitalist, the establishment, so busy, an artist, a factory owner, newspaper, bookbinding, the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, was it easier back in those days, born into wealth, quitting jobs, his own life story, an escape from his own life story, escapist, Childhood’s End, a critique, an opting out tale, a walkaway tale, American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time) podcast, Frodo never wanted to leave, one of the most famous faces from the 19th century, Jane Burden, art history, the Pre-Raphaelites are not before Raphael, what didn’t they like about Raphael?, the northern renaissance, detail rules, early doctrines, studying nature attentively, attention in the places not normally given attention, eyebrows and ivy, a style, Rossetti, Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, cheating and living together in the same house, Blunt, Cosima Liszt, Richard Wagner, a social activist who wants to empower women, chapter 10, in comparison to me, all women are the same woman in this book, are you really a goddess?, the flowers start blooming, promises, not their true relationship, a really deep thinker, written as an escape, an escape from the personal displeasures of one’s own life, when socialist were claiming this was a political tract, socialist allies, the revolutionary narrative, lifestylism, veganism, a call for more broad political action, the personal, being a hobo, walk the earth, a rich merchant family, is he 70?, as young men are mostly wont, knowing how to forbear, a trusty warfellow, Langton means boring, the passing of the names backwards and forwards, Hansens are sons of Han, the poetic stuff, all poetry, all the Ls, manifest tokens, she hates him, Dad I gotta leave, his dad has been murdered by his wife’s family, a descent warrior, the traditional hero, he chooses to go back, the coincidence, a cycle of violence, the old man, very Odysseus, how did you inherit this house, empire and the cycle of violence, that old man wants Golden Walter to be his son and heir and to slay him, something going on below the surface, the Zen Buddhism of William Morris, not to give into resentment, why is the wife sour on Golden Walter, the most noble of hosts, a sad story, don’t seek out the maid, that woman, how knowst?, war breaks out among the bear people, the cyclical story, 36 chapters, pretty big for a small book, Carl is the Scandinavian word for dude, The Walking Dead, house carls, here is a man, good in a fray, rather wiser than foolish men are mostly wont, Odysseus’s men, The Odyssey, a series of scenes that allow you to interact with strangers, stealing cheese and drinking wine, the proper response to dealing with strangers, houseguests, him and his girl, the first foreigner who shows up becomes king, god and catholicism, a religious element, more like an elf than a goddess, JSTOR, down on academic stuff for academic purposes, the scaffolding, Debbie Zapata, Goodreads, quest for love, verily, “…but next I must needs tell thee of things whereof I wot, and thou wottest not.”, to wot is to know, crispy hair, naked, from a real person, crispy = curly or wavy, he louted to the lady, lout = bent, stoop, or bow, villain = bad guy (or serf), we have adopted the values of the lower upper class, an Americanism, egalitarian social relations, boss replaced master, a honorific, working class language, chief, is language separable from a class system?, dozens of different types of people, very rigid structure, poor laws, the basket of deplorables, white on white hate, redneck, hillbilly, Morris thought class was a huge problem, Friedrich Engels, visiting Iceland, a resource poor nation, guiding philosophy, in assembling News From Nowhere, how the working class are getting the shaft, the position of the police in the class system, social justice, the poorest in Scotland, they all have copies of News From Nowhere in their homes, the return to the Middle Ages, a more egalitarian time, the village, the collectivity, the slaveholders in the American South, Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, slave collars, a wedding ring as a symbol of slavery to another person, he literally leaves planet earth, as escapist as you can get, not a normal political work, about the class system, when Lovecraft was a little kid, the mad Arab Abdul Al Hazred, his superhero name, reading The Arabian Nights, as a child William Morris convinced his parents to buy him a full suit of armor, all forty of Sir Walter Scott’s books by the age of seven, absolutely bursting with ideas, Tolkien’s dwarves in The Hobbit, the Saga of the Volsungs, Gandalf, this is where it starts, Tolkien is a country gentleman, Tolkien adores the class system, “Oh Mr Frodo, sir!”, all the rich people go to the land to the west (Elysium), the movies, where you start in life effects what you’re interested in, Jon’s World by Philip K. Dick, an alternate reality, Souvenir by Philip K. Dick, that same fascination for the middle ages, a race system, the idea of the “Boss”, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, the ethos of the hardworking American go-getter, thoughtlessly recreating the industrial revolution in Medieval England, we’re not slaves, The Wages Of Whiteness: Race And The Making Of The American Working Class by David R. Roediger, obsession with minstrel shows, what we think through and what we don’t think though, the Milwaukee Brewers, “problematic” team names, baseball, a course on sports history, Any Given Sunday (1999), what makes something good (the work that went into it that you don’t see), fetishizing the aesthetic, Le Morte d’Arthur, Lancelot, a super epic internal struggle, a wound that can’t heal, betrayal and atonement, the Holy Grail, Morgan Le Fay, Mordred, a bastard product of incest, traditional Hawaiian royalty, Excalibur (1981), The Well At World’s End, tough listening, webbed language, pre-television and pre-literacy word weaving, the episodic nature of The Odyssey, telling tales, coming from a real place, not a book I would recommend to everybody, a book about escaping the more serious things one does all day long, one of the busiest men ever, escape from WWI, Elfish, The Silmarillion, what that leaves out, this is all a way to escape the world, somebody named Kavanaugh, his comrades, all they’re about, a more complex person, eight hour work day, a choice that he made, why the Arts and Crafts movement, made shittly, factory jobs, intellectually, the degradation of work, scientific management, Philip K. Dick, the tinkerer or the repairman, Galactic Pot-Healer, The Hanging Stranger, the ethos of work, Henry Ford’s creation seem antithetical, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, post-scarcity, technology as a way to free us, the mental a physical connection, the horror of capitalism, Sales Pitch by Philip K. Dick, robots who replace you, Human Is, there’s nothing to do, that industrial equation, the uselessness of his job, coming from an industrial fixer, the pot was terrible, The Man In The High Castle, the jewellery making, abstract zen koan art, that tiny influence, something new created, a fantasy of escape, very important, this is the beginning, the Glimmung, you’re needed you have value, restore a cathedral, what is more epic?, so metaphorical, you can see the strivings the longings, these are not entertainments, Dick’s commercial strivings, Morris’ book was self published, Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, passionate visionaries, why people point to this book, once it clicked in, James Joyce’s Ulysses, one guy’s bad day, his wife’s cheating on him during the day, humiliation, masturbating on a beach, head to feet, people having there wife cheat on them, I can’t go home so I might as well write this book.
Posted by Jesse Willis