Sym­bolic ch­e­lo­nian

Fortean Times - - Letters -

When but a novice reader of Shake­speare, I re­mem­ber a slight pang of dis­ap­point­ment at dis­cov­er­ing that the “Tur­tle” in the ti­tle of his great meta­phys­i­cal poem on ideal love, “The Phoenix and the Tur­tle”, re­ferred to the tur­tle dove rather than the shelled ch­e­lo­nian. I sus­pect I had been hop­ing for some Lewis Car­roll-style fan­tasy on mis­matched an­i­mal part­ners.

Fortean Times, how­ever, has re­stored my faith in the in­evitabil­ity of the sur­real. The re­view of Joseph Nigg’s book The Phoenix [ FT354:56] refers to Shake­speare’s poem as “The Phoenix and the Tor­toise” which (un­less there are tor­toise doves out there) takes us well into the de­li­ciously ab­surd ter­ri­tory of “The Wal­rus and the Car­pen­ter” while adding a whole new level of ar­cane sym­bol­ism. Gail-Nina An­der­son Jes­mond, New­cas­tle-upon-Tyne

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