The Weekly Commonplace (7/23/17)


“Who needed ghosts to haunt a house when one could form his own demons out of paper?” (Charlie N. Holmberg, The Paper Magician, 8)

“Streets like slick eels wound through the city, none of them quite straight, and many of them looking quite lost.” (Holmberg, 84)


“It is this newly revealed sea, this ocean of myth teeming with symbol, meaning, and loveliness, that Tolkien held dear.” (Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, 216)

“Everyone and everything, with Williams, needed to be raised to its highest level—the teacher must become a mage, the husband a knight errant, the laborer a hero in a sacred drama—intensified, reified, baptized in the turbulent waters of his restlessness, curiosity, and ardor.” (Zaleski and Zaleski, 222)

“At an even later state, in Gaul, and, more spectacularly, in the British Isles, some long-distance roads had been constructed as literal incarnations of the solstice lines. Knowledge of that grid had been lost in the bustle and belligerence of the Roman empire, ant it often seemed as though that wonder of the ancient world had never existed at all.” (Graham Robb, The Ancient Paths, xii-xiii)

“From somewhere beyond the Alps, this transcontinental masterpiece of sacred geography seemed to extend as far as the British Isles, and perhaps even further, to the remote northern islands seen in the fourth century BC by the explorer Pytheas of Marseille, where the ocean, heaving like a lung, becomes indistinguishable from the sky.” (Robb, xiii)

“I forsook the magical shadows of the thatched cottage for the energy-saving gloom of modern libraries. Time spent in another world is never wasted, and so, even if the theory had been hammered into oblivion by historical and archaeological fact, it would still have been a fruitful disappointment.” (Robb, xiii)

(Image courtesy of Samuel Zeller and


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