For many writers and artists, the woods are restorative places with an invigorating charge. Creative individuals have disappeared into the folds of the woods for a few hours to find solace. They return with a renewed sense of their work; their vision refocused.
The woods have inspired one artistic endeavor after another. While some authors have ventured into the woods for a brisk walk, others have set up shop within them and made the woods their home. The writers benefiting from a relationship with their arboreal environs existed outside the parameters of environmental and nature writing.
Several writers who have fallen for the peace the woods never wrote about them. In this week’s A Few Things, we focus on place and highlight the Woods. We have selected famous wooded areas for A Few Places: The Woods.
1. Vienna Woods
During the Golden Age of Vienna, when the city’s famous coffeehouses and cafes served as informal offices to the likes of Freud, Klimt, and Zweig, writers and artists would seek respite in the nearby woods. The Vienna Woods prove to be an inspirational space having positive affects on the creative energy of those who stepped inside. Musicians benefited too. Those who visited left the woods inspired and humming new a new tune.
Walden Woods were inspirational enough for Henry David Thoreau to include them in his own, personal manifesto. He did not merely visit these woods; Thoreau made Walden Woods famous. He tested himself in the woods, and from behind their borders, he magnified society for closer analysis and increased awareness. People continue to visit Walden today. They walk where Thoreau lived and worked hoping to sample the magic the author did.
There is a buzz about the woods of Norway. The Beatles sang about them. Murakami titled a book after them. Contemporary literature cannot seem to be lured by them. Contemporary Norwegian literature is often set physically, emotionally, or mentally in its woods. A story’s plot often involves the departure of a small town man or woman who sets off into the void of the world only to return home to the woods. They are called back to their wooded environs.
The woods have their place in literature. They appear as supportive escapes for writers in the process of creating, settings in novels, and backdrops of consciousness. Their magic has been woven into words and strung along the pages of literature treasured and adored, and for this, we thank them.
Do you find the woods inspiring? What settings inspire you?