A few years back I was looking for some inspiration for a photography project – a sort of ‘starter for 10’. Somebody suggested I could try reading some poetry …. yeah, right! A title was offered – with the knowledge that I was inclined towards landscape photography – Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. I’m know the poem has more to offer than I took from it – I simply read it as a story – but it left an impression in my mind, so now I’m always looking for the slightest possibility of realising the sense of place I took from the poem. Very much a feeling of ‘gothic-ness’, I’m always exploring the damp, dark, overgrown places in the locations I visit.
(By the way, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is available in various forms – from it’s medieval origins to modern translations – on a number of websites around the WWW.)
Since that original exploration, I’ve tried reading a number of early novels, the earliest being translation of Tirant Lo Blanc (1490). My plan is to read the oldest first (according to Wikipedia) my intention is to build an impression of how the relationship that people had with their environment changed through time. Ideally, I like to read the earliest version I can find (usually a late Victorian translation), but many of these books are in reference libraries which don’t lend out their copies. Many of these stories are allegorical, but like my initial exploration, I just read them for the stories, not some deep and meaningful subtext – though some of the work of Jonathan Swift was a bit more in your face. Some of these works are now available on the web for downloading free of charge (subject to donation, perhaps), but you really need something to read them on ….. a tablet is the next thing, once the budget is available. 😉