Read The Violet Apple & The Witch by David Lindsay Free Online
Book Title: The Violet Apple & The Witch|
The author of the book: David Lindsay
ISBN 13: 9780914090120
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 834 KB
Edition: Chicago Review Press/Swallow Press distribution
Date of issue: May 28th 1976
Read full description of the books The Violet Apple & The Witch:Like The Haunted Woman & Sphinx, The Violet Apple opens as its protagonist receives an inheritance, tho not money in this case.
Anthony Kerr is a successful playwright, a fusion of G.B. Shaw & H.P. Lovecraft. He presents entertaining philosophical arguments to the public, but only by disguising his belief that humans are little better than insects in the face of vast, cosmic forces.
While Kerr is finishing the 1st act of a new play. A parcel arrives containing a family heirloom predating the Crusades: a glass snake containing a withered pip supposedly from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil. A visiting friend, Jim Lytham, accidentally breaks the ornament. Kerr pockets the seed.
Lytham's announces his engagement to Haidee Croyland. At the ensuing party, Kerr announces he too is to wed: Grace, Lytham's sister. Haidee unenthusiastically receives the news, either thru jealousy or because she's unsure of her feelings. She surreptitiously demands Kerr meet her by an old ruined tower the next day or she'll end her engagement to Lytham.
The meeting causes complications. On a morning walk, Lytham & Grace happen upon Haidee & Kerr. When they refuse to explain their rendezvous' purpose, Lytham & Grace start doubting their respective engagements. Complications escalate. Haidee can't decide whether her feelings are for Kerr & whether she ought attend to them. They're caught at other meetings. Lytham stops speaking to Kerr. There's talk of cancelling the weddings.
Meanwhile, Kerr has given the seed to Lytham's other sister, Virginia. She plants it. A tiny, withered tree grows remarkably quickly, producing two small, violet fruits. Affairs between Haidee, Kerr, Lytham & Grace come to crisis. Haidee, who has an impulsive personality reminiscent of Krag's, snatches one, eats it & leaves.
Kerr gets a letter from her afterwards, asking him to eat the remaining fruit & relate his sensations. He does, entering a state of profound insight. He realises his soul is written nakedly on his face (cf. Adam's realisation after eating the fruit) & that he can read others' true natures on their faces. His fiancé Grace appears banal & prosaic to him. Haidee alone has meaning for him.
He goes to her. She seems angelic to him, but doesn't reciprocate his feelings. Altho having felt similarly towards him upon eating the fruit 30 hours prior, now, not only have the convictions behind those earlier insights departed, but she's also lost all sense of beauty in the world.
Lytham turns up as Kerr kneels before Haidee & breaks off his engagement. Haidee persuades Kerr to leave. He does & cools down. Not only does he lose the conviction Haidee is divine, he also loses all interest in his art. He tries reconciling with Grace but fails.
Walking later he comes upon Haidee at a place where two trees form a cross—a place he recognises from a landscape painting he bought prior to the novel's beginning, & which impressed him then as expressing a part of his destiny. At 1st, the couple are dejected, seemingly resigned to the loss of their feelings for one another. Then Haidee says that, altho they might never recapture the intense feelings given by eating the violet apples, they might at least work towards it & "then it will be ours, not a free gift this time, but ours."
Read information about the authorLibrarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
David Lindsay was a Scottish author now most famous for the philosophical science fiction novel A Voyage to Arcturus.
Lindsay was born into a middle-class Scottish Calvinist family who had moved to London, tho growing up he spent much time in Jedburgh, where his family was from. Altho awarded a university scholarship, he was forced by poverty to enter business, becoming a Lloyd's of London insurance clerk. He was very successful but, after serving in WWI, at age forty, he moved to Cornwall with his young wife, Jacqueline Silver, to become a full-time writer. He published A Voyage to Arcturus in 1920. It sold 596 copies before being remaindered. This extremely strange work was not obviously influenced by anyone, but further reading shows links with other Scottish fantasists (e.g., Geo. MacDonald). It was in its turn a central influence on C. S. Lewis's Out of the Silent Planet.
Lindsay attempted to write more commercially with his next work The Haunted Woman (1922), but this was barely more successful than Voyage. He continued writing novels, including the humorous potboiler The Adventures of Monsieur de Mailly, but after Devil's Tor in 1932 he found publication increasingly difficult and spent much time on his last work The Witch, published posthumously.
He and his wife opened a Brighton boarding house. They did not prosper and their marriage underwent considerable strain. The house was damaged by the first bomb to fall on Brighton in WWII. In his bath at the time, Lindsay never recovered from the shock. His death from infection caused by a tooth abscess was unrelated to the bomb.
A Voyage to Arcturus has been described as the major underground novel of the 20th century. The secret of Lindsay's apparent strangeness lies in his metaphysical assumptions. A gnostic, he viewed the "real" world as an illusion which must be rejected in order to perceive genuine truth. In The Haunted Woman, the two main characters discover a room which exists only some of the time. Together there they see more clearly and express themselves honestly. In The Violet Apple, the fruit is that eaten by Adam and Eve. The description of its effects is a startling, lyrical episode in a novel otherwise concerned with ordinary matters.
Lindsay's austere vision of reality may have been influenced by Scandinavian mythology. After being out of print for decades, his work has become increasingly available. He is now seen as being a major Scottish fantasist of the 20th century, the missing link between George Macdonald and modern writers such as Alasdair Gray who have also used surrealism and magic realism.
Arcturus was produced as a 35mm feature film by William J. Holloway in 1971. It was the first film funded by a National Endowment for the Arts and has recently been re-released.
Harold Bloom has also been interested, even obsessed, with Lindsay's life and career, going as far as to publish The Flight to Lucifer, which he thought of as a Bloomian misprision, an homage and deep revision of Arcturus,/i>. Bloom admits his late-comer imitation is overwhelmed by Lindsay's great original.
A Voyage to Arcturus, 1920
The Haunted Woman, 1922
The Adventures of Monsieur de Mailly, 1926
Devil's Tor, 1932
The Violet Apple & The Witch, 1976
A Christmas Play, 2003
The Strange Genius of David Lindsay: An Appreciation by J. B. Pick, E. H. Visiak & Colin Wilson, 1970
The Life & Works of David Lindsay by Bernard Sellin, 1983
David Lindsay's Vision by David Power, 2005
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