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Lindsay, Vachel

Entry updated 12 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

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(1879-1931) US poet, the clanging visionary primitivism of whose best-known work – the poems assembled in The Congo and Other Poems (coll 1914) – may have been ingenuous; some of the poems in Going-to-the-Sun (coll 1923) are of sf interest (see Poetry), one of them being adapted by John Clute for his sf novel Appleseed (2001). His Cinema criticism – assembled in The Art of the Moving Picture (coll 1915) and The Progress and Poetry of the Movies: A Second Book of Film Criticism by Vachel Lindsay (coll 1995) – treated movies as almost mystically inspiring creators of a better future. Lindsay's Utopia, The Golden Book of Springfield, being the Review of a Book that will Appear in the Autumn of the year 2018, and an Extended Description of Springfield, Illinois, in that Year (1920), is an early exercise in Medieval Futurism: Springfield has become a walled garden city [for Polder see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below], whose growth has been symbolically made possible by the "Amaranth Apple" presented to Springfield's original founder by Johnny Appleseed himself, the effect of this apple being directly contrary to that of the Edenic apple that engendered man's first disobedience (see Religion). Within the walls under its clement sway, a racially mixed citizenry – the protagonist of the tale is herself part Native American, part African, part European (see Race in SF) – share goods and duties, keep the industrialized outer world at bay, and express freely their individual genius. [JC]

Nicholas Vachel Lindsay

born Springfield, Illinois: 10 November 1879

died Springfield, Illinois: 5 December 1931




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