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Saturday 18 May 2024

Underworlds: A Compelling Journey Through Subterranean Realms Real and Imagined

Wyrd Britain reviews 'Underworlds: A Compelling Journey Through Subterranean Realms Real and Imagined' by Stephen Ellcock.
Stephen Ellcock
Thames & Hudson

A darkly evocative compendium of images exploring natural, constructed, imaginary, and subconscious underworlds, curated by renowned image collector and social media figure Stephen Ellcock. Underworlds takes readers on a captivating visual odyssey to the underbelly of everything, beginning with depictions of life and natural systems existing beneath the surface of the Earth and ending with imagery that emanates from the depths of our subconscious. Work by world-renowned artists―from Peter Paul Rubens and RenĂ© Magritte to contemporary artists such as Kara Walker and Roger Ballen―is featured alongside recently unearthed images from archives around the world.

Wyrd Britain reviews 'Underworlds: A Compelling Journey Through Subterranean Realms Real and Imagined' by Stephen Ellcock.

Split across five chapters - 'Beneath the Surface', Human Habitation and Exploration', Underwter Worlds', 'Imagined Underground Worlds' and 'Subliminal Realms' - this beautiful book explores humanities obsession with what lies below.  Exploring burial chambers and mines, caverns and Charon, Hells, hallucinations, hollow Earth and hermits Ellcock takes us on a fascinating visual journey of everything underneath.

Wyrd Britain reviews 'Underworlds: A Compelling Journey Through Subterranean Realms Real and Imagined' by Stephen Ellcock.

My own interests lean towards the fictional so those chapters on caves, crypts, sewers, quarries and the like were of less interest than those exploring our imaginative relationships but throughout Ellcock has chosen images that present a sumptuous feast of art and photography that encapsulates the creative interplay between the real and the imagined in our eternal need to explore the unknown and the hidden, and our obsessive search beneath and beyond. 

Wyrd Britain reviews 'Underworlds: A Compelling Journey Through Subterranean Realms Real and Imagined' by Stephen Ellcock.

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Friday 3 May 2024

Fifty-One Tales

Lord Dunsany
Serenity Publishers

I've never really properly dug into Dunsany's writing before beyond an anthology short or two but this collection called to me (despite it's hideous cover art) and proved to be something entirely wonderful.

The title sums up the book concisely and almost perfectly except it could potentially have utilised the word 'Tiny' as most of these tales are very short indeed - between half a page and three pages each. Most are written as a morality fable of sorts, often with an environmental theme, and read as a block they get to feel a little preachy but spaced out, a couple at a time, they proved to be miniature imaginative marvels with some absolute gems amongst them like, 'The Tomb of Pan' and 'The Prayer of the Flowers' that made for a perfect introduction to the worlds of Dunsany's imagnation.

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If you enjoy what we do here on Wyrd Britain and would like to help us continue then we would very much welcome a donation towards keeping the blog going - paypal.me/wyrdbritain

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience and to help mitigate running costs.