A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Quiz Time

...continued...

The small locomotive engine, Number 4, came clanking, stumbling down from Selston with seven full waggons. It appeared round the corner with loud threats of speed, but the colt that it startled from among the gorse, which still flickered indistinctly in the raw afternoon, outdistanced it at a canter. A woman, walking up the railway line to Underwood, drew back into the hedge, held her basket aside, and watched the footplate of the engine advancing. The trucks thumped heavily past, one by one, with slow inevitable movement, as she stood insignificantly trapped between the jolting black waggons and the hedge; then they curved away towards the coppice where the withered oak leaves dropped noiselessly, while the birds, pulling at the scarlet hips beside the track, made off into the dusk that had already crept into the spinney. In the open, the smoke from the engine sank and cleaved to the rough grass. The fields were dreary and forsaken, and in the marshy strip that led to the whimsey, a reedy pit-pond, the fowls had already abandoned their run among the alders, to roost in the tarred fowl-house. The pit-bank loomed up beyond the pond, flames like red sores licking its ashy sides, in the afternoon's stagnant light. Just beyond rose the tapering chimneys and the clumsy black headstocks of Brinsley Colliery. The two wheels were spinning fast up against the sky, and the winding-engine rapped out its little spasms. The miners were being turned up.

Anyone know why this fine opening paragraph of descriptive writing has such literary-historical importance? The clues are all there!

(The photo is credited to Garth Newton at http://www.ilkcam.com/ and reproduced under a Creative Commons License.)

...to be continued...

5 comments:

BG! said...

I know the work, but I've no idea as to why it's so important. Maybe I should have taken Eng Lit more seriously at school!

The Solitary Walker said...

It's to do with the person who first 'read' it and the subsequent effect that had...

The Solitary Walker said...

Actually, it's a bit misleading of me to say the clues are all there. They are for the author and the work, but not for the literary significance of the passage...

Gypsy James said...

D.H.Lawrence....

His first published work perhaps?

The Odour of Chrysanthemums?

I spent a brief spell on my placement year from college working at British Coal HQ, in Eastwood, Notts, Lawrence's hometown....I haven't read enough of his work to be honest, and struggled with some of what I tried, but his was the first name that came to mind when I re-visited.

Keep up the good work!

James

Gypsy James said...

Oops, I failed. I Await the "significance"!