Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Scriptural And Symbolical Texts

In CS Lewis' The Last Battle, when a Calormene meets Aslan, the text reads like a passage of scripture. See here. Similarly, Poul Anderson wrote:

"Out of the east, the morning behind them, rode the Anses into the world."
-Poul Anderson, "Star of the Sea" IN Anderson, Time Patrol (New York, 2006), pp. 467-640 AT II, p. 557.

This is perhaps like a pagan New Testament since the arrival of the Anses (Aesir) displaces the Wanes (Vanir), the even more primitive earlier gods? (The Upanishads are an Indian "New Testament," marking the transition from Vedism to Hinduism.)

That is mythological writing. Section 19 begins with a descriptive passage combining beauty with symbolism. We have just been informed that Veleda will now preach not war but peace. The descriptive passage introduces the peace negotiations:

"New-fallen snow covered ash heaps that had been homesteads. Where junipers had caught some of it in their deep green, it lay like whiteness's self. Low to the south, the sun cast their shadows across it, blue as heaven. Thin ice on the river had thawed with morning but still crusted dried reeds along the banks, while bits of it drifted in midstream, slowly northward. A gloom on the eastern horizon marked the edge of wilderness.
"Burhmund and his men rode west." (p. 622)

It is difficult to stop quoting:

homes have been burned but the ashes have been covered by new white snow;
colors are deep green, pure white and heavenly blue;
ice is thawing;
the sun is low but it is morning, not evening;
gloomy wilderness remains distantly visible but the rebel leader rides away from it...

There is symbolism in every line.

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