Sunday, 2 March 2008

"The Spiderwick Chronicles" and the VMs...

You may not have heard of them, but the six books in The Spiderwick Chronicles - stories that follow a group of kids in their everyday struggles with elves, goblins and boggarts - have (according to a piece in this week's MCV, which seemed to have been written by Vivendi's PR folk) sold six million copies worldwide, more than a million of which were in the UK. Oh, and the US box office release of the movie grossed nearly $25m: and there's a computer game imminent, too.

LA-based blogger Martin van Velsen caught the film's opening: and was struck by the title-sequence, during which Arthur Spiderwick constructs a book, one page every day, by gluing down small objects and animal (mostly insect) parts and writing a commentary around them. Martin wonders if the Codex Seraphinianus and the Voynich Manuscript (both of which he describes as "pure works of fiction, a flight of fantasy out of control... [yet] based... on the real world") were effectively the real Spiderwick Chronicles.
"When browsing the Voynich Manuscript I tend to find myself wonder what was drawn true to life and what was made up. More importantly, did the author deliberately stay on the edge as to lure the reader into believing some of the imaginary depictions are actually real?"

All good thoughts. He ends his blog with a rather splendid quote from H. P. Lovecraft:-

"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."

This whole blog entry warmed my heart, simply because here we have a blogger who really gets the Voynich. OK, he's into H. P. Lovecraft and Luigi Serafini too, so it wasn't a massive jump sideways: but all credit to him regardless. :-)

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