Thursday, September 26, 2019

Plaids and rainbows

Robert Kirk, The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies (New York: New York Review Books, 2007).

Robert Kirk (1641?–1692) was a Scottish minister and folklorist. The manuscript of The Secret Commonwealth was left unpublished at the time of his death. Kirk goes to remarkable lengths to place brownies and fairies and the gift of second sight within a Christian worldview. Highly ecumenical.

This extraordinary passage makes me think of lines from Wallace Stevens’s poem “Sunday Morning,” as the poet imagines paradise: “Alas, that they should wear our colors there, / The silken weavings of our afternoons.” In other words, when we imagine an alternative reality, we cast it in terms of the world we know. Thus plaids and suanochs. But then again, there are those “curious cobwebs” and “impalpable rainbows.” How do those creatures make their clothes anyway?

Related posts, sort of
Is plaid really warmer? : Orange Crate tArtan

[Kirk’s appendix to his work, “An Exposition of the Difficult Words in the Foregoing Treatises,” defines suanoch as “mantle or cloak.”]

comments: 2

The Arthurian said...

"... when we imagine an alternative reality, we cast it in terms of the world we know."

That's a really good line. I'll be quoting you. :)

On the other thing, I thought you might appreciate this

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for the compliment and for that terrific cartoon.

I noticed that when Adam Schiff spoke yesterday, he was careful to say that the president has betrayed his oath of office. William Weld has gone further in saying that Trump has betrayed his country.