Every week, join award-winning narrator B.J. Harrison as he narrates the greatest stories the world has ever known. From the jungles of South America to the Mississippi Delta, from Victorian England to the sands of the Arabian desert, join us on a fantastic journey through the words of the world's greatest authors. Critically-acclaimed and highly recommended for anyone who loves a good story with plenty of substance.
August 22nd, 2014
Episode 26 of 146 episodes
Today’s episode has it’s roots in a work written by Joseph Glanvill in 1661. Joseph Glanvill was an English writer, philosopher and clergyman. In 1661 he predicted “The time will come when making use of magnetic waves that permeate the ether,…we shall communicate with persons on the opposite side of the globe.” In 1661, Glanville wrote The Vanity of Dogmatizing, which was a plea for religious toleration, the scientific method, and freedom of thought. It also contains the tale The Scholar Gypsy, which inspired Victorian poet Matthew Arnold to write his poem of the same name. Epigraphs from Glanvill are found at the beginning of two short stories by Edgar Allan Poe: "Ligeia" and "A Descent into the Maelstrom". Aleister Crowley’s book “Diary of a Drug Fiend” opens with a direct quotation from Glanvill, and some sections of Shirley Jackson’s short story collection “The Lottery and Other Stories” also begin with Glanvill quotes. I recently ran across an article stating how the 40 hour work week was actually designed to keep the average worker on a perpetual treadmill of dissatisfaction. We tend to make just enough to get by, yet hope that someday things will get better. We come home and try to escape by watching TV, then buying the things advertised in the commercials. Which brings me to why I chose this poem. This poem, written over 150 years ago, and inspired by a work from 1661, strikes a definite modern chord. It begins describing a shepherd, who lives the humane, pastoral life of peace and lassitude. Then it speaks of Glanvill’s tale of the Scholar Gypsy. This is an Oxford scholar who leaves the privaledged comforts of the university, after discovering that the gypsy culture holds meritorious intrigue. He considers it his personal mission to probe the depths of the mysteries of the gypsies and then share these mysteries to the world. Then, the Scholar Gypsy becomes a folk figure. He is often seen in various times of the year in various climes. A silent, spare figure cloaked in a weathered hat and gray gypsy garb. 200 years pass, and still he is seen. For the Scholar Gypsy lives forever. Why? Because in leaving his tribe and following his passion, he has eluded the repeated shocks that exhaust the energy of the strongest souls, and numb the elastic powers. Then follows a description of those of us on a treadmill: Who are light half-believers of our casual creeds, who never deeply felt, who hesitate and falter life away, and lose tomorrow the ground won today. Finally, the Scholar Gypsy is encouraged to remain in the forest, so as not to be contaminated with the infection of our mental strife. It is a lot to think on, and I’ve included a PDF version of the file that app users can download and read along with the narration.
Have you trembled ‘round the campfire as the ghost stories are told? Do tales of horrors wrought by nature and beyond strike fear in your soul? Is it best when you are afraid to turn out the light? Thrill to stories that strike at your deepest fears, as host Stephen Kilpatrick brings the best of horror fiction to your ears and your mind, read to you by the most chilling narrators that podcasting has to offer. <br /> <br /> Podcasting the finest in genre fiction, Tales to Terrify is where the depths of horror reveal the truths of good, evil, and the human spirit in the District of Wonders podcast network. Like all shows in the District of Wonders, Tales to Terrify is supported by a welcoming community of dedicated fans and contributors. Subscribe today, and begin your journey through the spine-tingling depths of storytelling.<br /> <br /> Everyone has a story in the District of Wonders. Come and find yours.