I am writing this when any sensible, diurnal person would be long in bed – where, as a penitential exercise, the monks of La Grande Chartreuse are about to perform the ‘reclaim the night’ they have done since their inception. But with a conference bid to complete tomorrow, and with Mark Rowlands’ enjoyable The Philosopher and the Wolf just finished, it’s time, I feel, to move into a more reasoned look at a question I’ve been mulling over for years, the question of where, exactly, is the landscape of traditional tales?
The most immediate answer is that I know where it used to be; it used to be on the doorstep of the storyteller. But of course it doesn’t stay where we left it, not least because we, the audience, have moved off. We moved off from clearings to common land to enclosed fields, and then to the towns, with our stories as cultural baggage in the handcart. We moved into a wolf-free country, then into a country where there is less darkness. We might argue that the stories we brought with us retained their currency because we brought the darkness with us too – but maybe this is a little fanciful, and while it might take us some way to an answer to a spiritual question, it doesn’t help me answer my research question much.
More on this when I can, in the research pages.