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Des
Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2003 - 11:48 pm:   

It's very foggy where I live this morning in Essex. I was wondering what fiction actually features fog as a significant part of the plot or atmosphere or metaphor? Or life itself?

Just one example from the opening chapter of 'Bleak House':

"Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping, and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs, fog lying out on the yards, and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little 'prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all around them, as if they were up in a balloon, and hanging in the misty clouds. Gas looming through the fog in divers places in the streets, much as the sun may, from the spongy fields, be seen to loom by husbandman and ploughboy. Most of the shops lighted two hours before their time -- as the gas seems to know, for it has a haggard and unwilling look. The raw afternoon is rawest, and the dense fog is densest, and the muddy streets are muddiest, near that leaden-headed old corporation: Temple Bar. And hard by Temple Bar, in Lincoln's Inn Hall, at the very heart of the fog, sits the Lord High Chancellor in his High Court of Chancery. Never can there come fog too thick, never can there come mud and mire too deep, to assort with the groping and floundering conditions which the High Court of Chancery, most pestilent of hoary sinners, holds, this day, in the sight of heaven and earth."
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Des
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2003 - 09:37 am:   

I've pinched this reply from another list in answer to my query:

"One obvious example is *The Hound of The Baskervilles* by Arthur Conan Doyle.
Fog abounds in children's literature, both of the magical and the more realistic varieties. Alan Garner uses it in *The Wierdstone of Brisingamen* I think, or possibly *The Moon of Gomrath*, maybe even both.
Arthur Ransome uses it in *Swallowdale* where they get lost in fog during the ascent of Kanchenjunga which is their pretend name for the Old Man of Coniston; a not insubstantial mountain by English standards. He also uses it in *Peter Duck* where the schooner the Wild Cat escapes in a thick fog down the English Channel from the pursuing Viper, manned by Black Jake and his crew. Guy de Maupassant also uses it to good effect."
***************

And I can't believe I'd forgotten this passage from one of my favourite ever poems (The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock by TS Eliot)
which I've been reminded about elsewhere:

"The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening.
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains.
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys.
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep."



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Des
Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2003 - 12:46 am:   

Just recalled: Zoran Zivkovic has, to my view, a hauntingly original treatment of fog in his 'Impossible Encounters'. Des
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Brian Overton
Posted on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 08:04 am:   

Des,

Two stories sprang to my mind when talking about fog. The first was William Hope Hodgson's "The Voice in the Night." There's nothing so poetic as the Dickens' piece in the story, but throughout the narrative there is always fog, mist or haze blocking one person from another.

In the end, the narrator gets a quick glimpse of the storyteller before he is again swallowed up by the fog:

"The sun flung a stray beam across the hidden sea;
pierced the mist dully, and lit up the receding boat with a gloomy fire. Indistinctly I saw something nodding between the oars. I thought of a sponge--a great, grey nodding sponge-- The oars continued to ply. They were grey--as was the boat--and my eyes searched a moment vainly for the conjunction of hand and oar. My gaze flashed back to the--head. It nodded forward as the oars went backward for the stroke. Then the oars were dipped, the boat shot out of the patch of light, and the--the thing went nodding into the mist."

The second, Fritz Leiber's "Cloud of Hate" from "Swords in the Mist," in which a semi-sentient fog brings hate to Lankhmar.

"Then in the gloom of the great slit-like hall, dim pale tendrils began to rise from the dark hummocky ground of the bent backs, as though a white, soft-growing ghost grass had been seeded there. The tendrils, which in another world might have been described as ectoplasmic, quickly multiplied, thickened, lengthened, and then coalesced into questing white serpentine shapes, so that it seemed as if tongues of thick river-fog had come licking down into this sub-cellar from the broad-flowing river Hlal."
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des
Posted on Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 10:53 am:   

For me, religion is a fog:

But what about the *study* of the religious process (no single religion, in my mind, deserving of predominant position) as a phenomenon of humanity's basic yearning for something more than just being a bag of bones?

What about the use of Art (in all its forms) as a religious-type process?

Creativity may be an expression of fictitious beliefs - ie creating characters and ideas entirely different and divorced from yourself --and ostensibly bizarre belief-systems that make a work of fiction (art) truly tick as a believable process within the world you've created. Then as model/comparison for the imputed real world as you see it.

Extrapolating from this overall jigsaw towards a noumenon that is personal to you -- as a totem amid the fogs of predicament in which we all find ourselves: between a rock and a hard place: created as a self to suffer a fear of death and knowing there is no escape other than by that death we so fear. How *did* we end up like this? There is no apparent escape.

One must perhaps brainstorm till one does find the answer amid the fog. The answer, I feel, is not in any one religion. But in multitudinous little bits and conceptions and flashpoints that *may* one day cohere into an answer.

If this doesn't work, well, one simply carries on and does one's best with those people one lives with and meets every day and those one may have created (one's own children) to become part of this conundrum of hopeful extrapolation amid various serendipities. Another sort of bonding and creating wholes from bits.

Then you think - is this all I have to say? Well, you never end saying things. Any response to our posts may change the direction of any future posts we make. Nothing is hidebound on internet discussion forums. They open new avenues. There is a lot of bad on the internet, but also a lot of good - because we can all create that 'totem' together in relatively 'real' time on the internet. This was not possible amid the slow and laboured fog of communication before the mid to late nineties. des








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Simon
Posted on Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 04:31 pm:   

You can't forget Stephen King's The Myst, a short novel that takes place in a grocery story surrounded by myst/fog. One of his better novels.
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AliceB
Posted on Saturday, March 13, 2004 - 04:32 pm:   

Des,

In the last few days I have felt that religion *is* fog. It obscures, distorts, makes people lose track of what is beyond their immediate sight. How else to explain Islamic extremists who slaughter and injure thousands of souls? I am unable to fathom what cuts terrorists from any humanity--unless they are in a fog, religious, doctrinaire, psychotic...

Feeling blue.

Alice
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des
Posted on Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 12:28 am:   

Indeed, 'The Mist', for me, is Stephen King's masterpiece, Simon. I'm a King fan generally - and his way of writing is very much like 'totemising' various discrete forces into one surge of creativity that each novel becomes.

Alice, this general theory about religion causing more bad than good has returned to me from time to time for my whole life, it seems, even as a small child. I have no black and white answer to it, but I can sympathise with the way you feel at the moment.
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des
Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - 12:34 am:   

The URL for the contents list links of my free-to-read previously published stories is now secret! Please let me know separately if you need it (or if you can find it without me telling you!)
des
http://www.weirdmonger.com

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