"The Great God Pan", Chapter 2, by Arthur Machen
Mr. Clarke's Memoirs
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So 'recondite' was a new word for me. "difficult or impossible for one of ordinary understanding or knowledge to comprehend" or "of, relating to, or dealing with something little known or obscure". Turns out there are two valid pronunciations for the word. The one I used here is apparently not the primary pronunciation, but is still an acceptable one. Frankly, I would never have guessed the primary pronunciation.
From the annotations in my book:
homoeopathic: in a medical context, curing like with like. The principle of 'homoeopathic magic', by which 'like produces like', is discussed at length by James George Frazer in "The Golden Bough", first published in 1890.
a place of some importance in the time of the Roman occupation: the village is near Machen's birthplace of Caerleon, barely disguised here, as in his novel "The Hill of Dreams", 'Caermaen'. The town was the site of the castra (legionnary fortress) of Isca (from the river Usk) Augusta, built around 75 AD. ... No doubt Machen also has in mind the nearby village of Caerwent, of which he wrote, years later: 'Caerwent, also a Roman city, was buried in the earth, and gave up now and again strange relics - fragments of the temple of "Nodens, god of the depths"'.
charcoal burners: the production of charcoal from wood was a traditional occupation in Wales, dating back at least to Roman times.
Et diabolus incarnatus est. Et homo factus est. "And the devil was made incarnate. And was made man"; a travesty of the Nicene Creed in which Christ 'By the power of the Holy Spirit ... became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man'.
The picture used is from a Roman sarcophagus, showing Bacchante playing the tambourine and turning towards Pan, from the 3rd century AD. Photograph by Rama (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Rama), Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 France: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en)
To follow along: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/389/389-h/389-h.htm#chap02
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