9.12.2005

Linlithgo -->

This is the mysterious, strangely alluring sign I routinely pass while driving north on Route 9. I have never heard this place spoken of, nor spotted it on any map -- my only knowledge of it comes from this single green and white sign which is posted at the terminal end of a lonely-looking road winding away from the crest of a particularly steep hill along Route 9, midway between Tivoli and the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.

I have wondered, idly, about Linlithgo. To me, the name evokes some imaginary place out of an extravagant sixteenth-century flight-of-fantasy -- a utopian city-state, a fabled land of youth or gold, a quaint, savage island somewhere beyond the setting sun, a paradisical, prelapsarian garden of singing birds, ripe fruit, and careless nudity, a whimsical, upside-down country populated by midgets or giants or dog-headed men.




What reminded me of this was an excellent article in the latest issue of Strange Horizons, "The Ten Stupidest Utopias!" More in-depth and profound than the title suggests, the article discusses and critiques a number of important classic utopias, from More's foundational text to Plato's Republic, the cyberspace of William Gibson's Neuromancer, and Charlotte Perkins Gillman's peculiarly Amazonian Herland.
Via Bookslut.

And as I recently mentioned, there is some great stuff, particularly the loads of beautiful images (such as the above), in the Utopia expo (French version) at the BnF.

Linlithgo...

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6 Comments:

Blogger bluewyvern:

It has just occurred to me that if the sign is pointing to the right as I am driving north, Linlithgo cannot possibly be a land of the setting sun. Well, there's one possibility eliminated.

11:52  
Blogger laurenbove:

How very karmaish of you to mention this interesting lovely name of a place with accompanying lovely artwork. I too recently have become enamoured with the name of a place... Aquilea. It sounded so musical and lovely I just didn't know what to do with this new knowledge. I looked it up and with that search came a lovely image of Attila the Hun sacking Aquilea (in ancient Rome). Try google image search and see. IT's a middleages masterpiece!

16:07  
Blogger S:

A magical name indeed-ancient and brimming with possibility. My eyebrows raised themselves in suprise, aided perhaps by a smidgin too much grappa, when the connections went off in my head and I realized that it in the Hudson valley it could only be that Linlithgo- the one that was old when the 13th century was young.

Etymologically its "the hollow lake," or else the gray dog Chulainn- irish hero in scottish drag. As a place its the scottish castle par excellence of the lowlands- home to bloody Mary & Bonny Prince Charles.
As a surname, or eventually middle name paired with Livingston, it is an assertion that the bearer belongs to one of the wealthiest and most prestigious bloodlines in the world. It seems that originally much of the surrounding land in Duchess and beyond was part of their estate, and Linlithgo was the center, circa 17th century at least, the place designed to remind them of home.

As it so happens the short lived Speaker of the House during the Clinton impeachment trials- the one who had a youthful indiscretion well into middle age and had to resign so that the spotlight wouldn't be lifted off that horrible horrible mr clinton and the unspeakable thing he did that resulted in- gasp, a dry cleaning bill and zero deaths, was a proud honorable scion of the line. To be fair, so are the Roosevelts, and, ever so distantly, the Bushes. Needless to say when folks start ranting on about the Masons and (fill in the blank) controlling the world, Linlithgow often features prominently.

In any case, in either location it looks like a lovely place. Plug in an extra W on the end and pop it into google and some great images of what is left of the castle emerge.

ps- been meaning to tell you- love the blog- its a splendid spot of whimsy and wisdom admid the often bleak tracks of cyber space. All the best.

00:31  
Blogger bluewyvern:

Wow...thank you for all the info! This post seems to have struck a chord with people, much more than I expected.

Thank you for your kind words. I am very glad you enjoy your visits here.

13:27  
Blogger J.L.:

There is actually a place called Linlithgow in Scotland - It's a small town near where I'm from. Unfortunately, it's not really that spectacular, although I haven't been there in some time.

Great Blog!

02:39  
Blogger bluewyvern:

Hi, j.l. -- thanks for visiting (and for linking)!

Linlithgow, Scotland, may not be spectacular...but I'm sure that Linlithgo, Enchanted Land Beyond the Dawning Sun, must be something special.

;)

23:44  

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