The Green World
I studied English Lit. at University College, Cardiff (now simply Cardiff University), and remember being fascinated by the concept of the green world. I’ll return to this in a later post, as it crops up in other ways in our literature, too.
“In his discussion of William Shakespeare’s works, literary critic Northrop Frye coined the term “The Green World” in order to describe a particular environment that recurs throughout literature. In literary tradition, a hero must undergo several steps before being able to overcome his or her particular challenges. Often, a character will disappear into a perfectly natural environment, most often a forest, in order to confront inner obstacles and gain personal insight. The Green World adventures generally offer elements of magic, supernatural power, and reigning chaos, but must be survived in order to restore balance to the world.”
Those of you who drop by regularly will know I have a beautiful park on my doorstep – Calderstones Park – in Liverpool. It was looking incredible early the other morning in the freakishly warm March weather we’ve been having. The sights in the park brought to mind that whole green world concept in Shakespeare’s plays.
You could easily imagine any of Shakespeare’s Comedies’ green world scenes being set here in the park. Wonder which play these incredible blossoms would host? Perhaps my favourite – A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
Seems to me there’s something almost surreal about this scene as the last of the early morning haze lingers. Calderstones Park certainly has some interesting credentials that lend it a supernatural feel, not least the existence of some of the actual Calder Stones ..
The stones are thought to date from the late neolithic/early bronze age. Impressive, huh? Walking the park and taking in the sometimes chaotic combination of plants and trees also reminds me of one of my favourite painters – Adrian Berg – who sadly died last October.
Berg was a Royal Academician and their site offers useful information about him; http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/academicians/painters/adrian-berg-ra,162,AR.html
His paintings are a real celebration and appreciation of the natural world, and it’s place in our suburban and metropolitan lives.
His use of colour and deceptively casual detail are remarkable. This piece reminds me a little of the French Impressionist – Seurat. Although largely painted elsewhere, it almost seems at times as though he was painting my park .. they’re eerily familiar and immediate. Here’s a shot of Calderstones Park ..
Now here’s one of Adrian Berg’s paintings. He’s somehow able to catch the blur and blend as plants and trees bleed into each other.
If you’ve not seen his work before, I’d seriously recommend taking a look. His paintings will really get you to reappraise the way you look at the natural world in our cities.Leaving the green world of Shakespeare and the rich detail of Berg’s natural world behind, here are a few more shots of Calderstones Park on a fabulous Spring morning.
This is a view of a Quarry Bank School classroom overlooking the park. And as you must all know by now, this was John Lennon’s old school. I like to imagine him daydreaming as he looked out of this window as he looked out over this beautiful park.
I’m pretty sure he’d recognise what I’ve offered in this post. Like to think he might approve, too.