emcmullin at kl.com
Fri Oct 20 11:22:00 EDT 2000
+ Elizabeth Self
+ Who would prefer to be Tanaqui
"It is very beautiful. It's such a shame the Etruscan civilisation fell over
and the name died with it (while Tarquin lived on). Somewhere in my
multifarious files is a scrap of very early Latin which mentions a Tanaqui
(rather than the more common Tanaquil or Tanaquill)."
Wha? Eh? Really? Etruscan you say? I must not have been attending properly
if the source of this name was brought up previously or I hadn't yet had
some other ideas to put it with. Recently I've been reading all sorts of
things about shamanism in the Classical world, its intersection with
pre-Socratic philosophy, Oracles, hero shrines, home shrines - this, that
and the other. One writer (Peter Kingsley) held that the point of
constructing hero shrines was that it provided a point of contact allowing
for the concentrated and focused power and virtue of people of exceptional
wisdom and virtue who were now residing in the Otherworld to come through
more easily to help people in this one. So that was where you went to get
that person's compassionate assistance. I think the idea was that you went
without expecting anything, but ready to be receptive to whatever came up.
This reminded me of their home shrines in Spellcoats and the Holy Islands
shrines in DA. I do suspect, particularly in Spellcoats, that she was
playing with ideas of demigods and how that would all work.
The Etruscans were mentioned in this context but I didn't note the specifics
- will have to go back.
And speaking of The Place Between, the people who staffed shrines and
whatnot were supposed to be, according to the this, that and other I'm
reading, able to spirit travel, which is what qualified them for the jobs of
facilitators and intermediaries of contact between the folks Over There and
the people here. Who knew the ideas would knit up with DWJ themes that
well? I always wonder what she reads. But she never puts her characters,
spirit traveling, undying or otherwise, in bureaucracies chained to doctrine
- which I much appreciate and which it seems the temples and Oracles etc. of
the ancient Mediterranean became whether they began that way or not.
Another book I read recently, Winged Pharaoh, provided a fascinating
depiction of temple training in the ancient world - the ideas involved were
novel to me.
Another thing in Winged Pharaoh which turns up in Deep Secret is the idea of
Sacred Kingship and the ruler as a sort of active symbol (not simply as a
passive representation) of the values and order of the otherworld (truth,
morality, love, courage) here. Sounds great if it would work.
I've never noticed before that the idea of winning through to the North is
in Horse and his Boy as well as C&C and DA. Very lazy of me. If I'm going
to be like *that* I might as well watch t.v. instead. And you know, a while
ago I read - maybe it was about the discovery of the Pyramid Texts? I'll
have to look back - but that the explorer was mooching around outside some
tombs and looked up to see a jackal standing there staring at him. As soon
as the jackal had his attention, it swooshed off around a corner. The
explorer (who I really ought to look up) followed the jackal who finally
disappeared right at the point where the explorer discovered some crevice or
entrance and voila, a discovery. I just love those things that tempt one to
read them as full of meaning, like the jackal, but then one isn't sure it is
appropriate to do so after all. Reminds one of Shasta waiting outside
Tashban for Aravis and Aslan pops up in disguise. I always loved the idea
of barrows, mastabas and beehive tombs - drove me crazy with curiosity that
Shasta just waited about outside of them - I thought for sure he would go
in. The deepness of time - I can't get enough of it.
Does anyone else on the list like to read about some of the above things
I've mentioned? I always feel out in left field when I bring these things
"Or even the Tanaquil in Spenser's _The Faerie Queene_. I wonder if DWJ did
- certainly the names in _Hexwood_ can't be Spenserian coincidences (Artegal
*and* Scudamore? Come on!)"
I know I've read in one of DWJ's autobios or interviews that The Faerie
Queene had a huge impact on her, particularly Britomart. When I took
16-17th century lit we read sections and then were given a choice of things
to read through for one of the papers due. The sections I read convinced me
to wade elsewhere, so I never knew there was a Tanquil in it. Given her
love of it, I'd say she probably did it very consciously.
Thanks to Hallie for posting that link to DWJ's review. That DWJ is writing
reviews for Amazon - wow! Life is good.
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