Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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A drying up of the soul

51H8S032BHL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I was doing the usual three-cards trick on my shelves, trying to slot more volumes in the same old space, and while trying to find a place for the old London Gazzeteer, I found myself with no place for Peter Ackroyd‘s Albion.
And as it happens, I sat down a while and browsed through that 500-odd pages hardback.

For those that missed it, Ackroyd’s Albion is a book about “the origins of English imagination” – that is to say, a catalog and discussion of those elements that make up the imaginary matter of Britain, that complex collection of legends, images, clichés and stories that is the basis of so much literature, music, art and what not.

Now the interesting bit is I was discussing, two nights back, with my friend Lucy among others, what we perceive as an increasing impoverishment of the imaginary matter backing what’s sold as fantasy, as horror, as science fiction. Continue reading