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Old 12-29-2022, 12:41 PM   #1
Wight of the Old Forest
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White Tree Old Man Algernon

Sometime during these two Covid-stricken years behind us I made my first forays into the work of Algernon Blackwood, an author of whose fame I had been aware for a long time without getting around to actually reading him. One of the first tales I dug into, since it's one of his most famous, was The Willows, an account of two travellers on a canoe on the Danube who, in the course of their journey, are increasingly spooked, harrassed, beset and attacked by the strangely animate eponymous trees:
Originally Posted by The Willows
They [the willows] went on chattering and talking among themselves, laughing a little, shrilly crying out, sometimes sighing--but what it was they made so much t-do about belonged to the secret life of the great plain they inhabited. And it was utterly alien to the world I knew, or to that of the wild yet kindly elements. [...] I watched them moving busily together, oddly shaking their big bushy heads, twirling their myriad leaves even when there was no wind. They moved of their own will as though alive, and they touched, by some incalculable method, my own keen sense of the horrible. [...] The willows were against us.
Now wait a sec, I thought, doesn't this remind me of something else? Of course it did, hence the thread title; and since I was unlikely to be the first to notice, I dug around a bit and found a blog post on the matter: Dangerous Willows: Tolkien and Blackwood.

So apparently Tolkien had read Blackwood, and not just The Willows (can somebody pinpoint where in Blackwood the phrase The Crack of Doom comes from?). And as Mithadan has justly complained on Facebook about a lack of new threads in the Books forum (see? social media has its uses), maybe we can talk about this. What parallels and differences do you see between Blackwood's and Tolkien's willows? Any other possible resoncances between the two authors that come to your mind? (If you like we can expand this to something like 'Tolkien and the weird/horror fiction of his time'.)
Und aus dem Erebos kamen viele seelen herauf der abgeschiedenen toten.- Homer, Odyssey, Canto XI
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