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imaginary countries

success fail Aug NOV Mar 20 2003 2004 2007 21 captures 27 May 2001 - 10 Feb 2012 About this capture COLLECTED BY Organization: Alexa Crawls Starting in 1996, Alexa Internet has been donating their crawl data to the Internet Archive. Flowing in every day, these data are added to the Wayback Machine after an embargo period. Collection: Alexa Crawl DZ Crawl DZ from Alexa Internet. This data is currently not publicly accessible. TIMESTAMPS (home) brobdingnag

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enta geweorc - the work of giants:

'The Ruin'

Variations on 'The Ruin'

There were giants on the earth in those days...

The great Cardiff giant hoax of 1869

a growing woman

Swift's 'Voyage to Brobdingnag'

a colder brighter icier Brobdingnag

Manguel and Guadalupi


From Manguel and Guadalupi's 'Dictionary of Imaginary Places' (Bloomsbury 1999)

BROBDINGNAG, an extensive peninsula on the coast of California, in the United States, discovered in 1703. The peninsula is six thousand miles long and between three and five thousand miles wide. To the north-east it is cut off by a range of volcanic mountains, some of them thirty miles high; no one knows what lies behind these mountains. The coast is rocky and dangerous. There are no ports and no coastal shipping, so that Brobdingnag remains totally cut off from the outside world. There is no known access from any other country.

The people of Hrobdingnag are a race of giants as tall as church steeples. They cover ten yards with a single stride. All things in their country are in proportion - the corn is forty feet high, the rats are the size of large mastiffs and the flies, a great nuisance in summer, are as big as larks. The hail-stones are eighteen times the size of those known elsewhere in the world. A normal human being can break his shin simply by stumbling against a snail shell. Huge bones and skulls dug up in various parts of the country suggest that the ancestors of the Brobdingnagians were still larger than the present race, which seems puny in comparison.

The history of the country is not known in any detail. In the recent past there have been struggles between the king, the people and the nobility, each vying for power. It is also known that there have been several civil wars arising from these struggles, the last one ending with the signing of a general treaty The monarchy is based on the principles of common sense, reason, justice and lenience; for instance, a farmer who can improve the yield of his land is considered more important than a politician.

The culture of Brobdingnag is limited to morality, history, poetry and mathematics, in which this race of giants excels. They also make excellent clockwork objects. All science is studied solely for its practical applications and there is no concern for abstract speculation or theorizing. Like the Chinese, the giants have used the art of printing since time immemorial. Their libraries are not, however, particularly extensive. That of the king, the largest in the country, contains only one thousand volumes in a gallery 1,200 feet long. The dominant literary style is clear, masculine and pure, avoiding all florid expressions or superfluous words. Building does not appear to be an art in which Brobdingnagians excel. The king's palace in the capital city of Lorbrulgrud, for instance, is an irregular pile of buildings some seven miles in circumference. The king also has a palace at Flanflasnic, about eighteen miles from the sea.

The laws of the country are simple and clear. None of them may exceed in words the number of letters in the alphabet (many of them are much shorter) and they must be expressed in plain, simple language. In general, the people are not sufficiently mercurial to interpret the laws in more than one way, and there are correspondingly few cases of civil litigation. Murder is a capital offence and offenders are beheaded.

A large army commanded by the nobility and local gentry is maintained, although the country has no reason to fear invasion from abroad. Discipline is extremely good and all manoeuvres are performed in admirable fashion. In all, the army comprises 176,000 infantry and 32,000 cavalry. Gunpowder and firearms are unknown.

The fauna includes the splacknuck, a graceful and elegant mammal roughly the size of a human being, and travellers are advised that they could be mistaken for one. Indeed, this may be an advantage, since after hearing Captain Lemuel Gulliver's description of European natives, the king of Brobdingnag concluded that they were "the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth."

(Jonathan Swift, Travels Into Several Remote Nations Of The World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver First a Surgeon, and then a Captain ofseveral Ships, London, 1726)

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Variations on The Ruin by Dominic Fox

Enta geweorc: that ruinous insult
deflated through irony, overrun
by wierds, side-splitting bracken.
A burg half sunk through bog.

Neither grip nor embrace the earth's
damp press, but otherwise: a clot:
a fastness, a cloddish comfort, taking
the edge off a quick cunning,

a builder's quirk or knack of knowing
long gone slack, to rack and rueing.

(These are variations drawn on the OE poem "The Ruin", in which "enta geweorc" means "the work of giants" - it's a poem about an old Roman dwelling, the scale and construction of which rather baffled and humiliated the Anglo-Saxons; they took comfort in the fact that "wierd" - that is, fate - had reduced it to rubble.)

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A growing woman

A woman lived just down the way
and she grew bigger everyday.
She sat in bed, all sore and raw,
eating more and more and more.
Gerry Springer popped by one day
and looked concerned and went away.
They brought a crane to move her out.
To lock her up and thin her out.
But she was proud of all her flesh.
She owned it and it cost her less
to sit there in her bed and eat
than leave the room and break the street.
She grew and grew and everyday
her family took her trays away
and then she broke out through the walls,
she'd stretched her legs and grown so tall.
Her head it touched the ceiling now.
She belched and bellowed like a cow.
and then on Sunday after lunch
there came a loud resounding crunch
and through the ceiling poked her head
which smashed the roof and broke the bed.
Her family stood out in the road
because like Topsy she just growed
she wore the house just like a dress
Alice like I must confess.
She stood up then and shook right off
stuff in her hair from out the loft
and having wiggled free of bricks
she pounded off at forty licks.
She ran along the motorway
and waved at gawkers on the way
a Picasso goddess, off she run
to the land of the midnight sun.

Annie Milner

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This mystical immensical imaginary place has a corollary
universe frozen in time and Tlingit myth......
Far up bay in the frozen reaches of the cerulean fierce ice
glaciers the old ones are frozen in tyme...but early in the
north endless summer nights the old ones are freed
by the dancing aurora borealis. TLINGIT
PLACE NAMES ARE SECRET KNOWLEGE...BUT AS A
PARTICULARLY OLD WOMAN IS AN INTIMATE FRIEND
I was invited to the 'Ceremony of the Midnight Sun' ...I too
became large, tiptoeing on icebergs as I danced with my
friends. They told me many stories of the old days and how
unhappy they are seeing the hideous cruise ships.
Little things too abound in this mythical Glacier
Bay...skitterring skels and faeries who live in the moss
hidey holes in
S'EET ETI G'AI SOME HAVE MOVED TO TOWN WHERE THEY
WREAK HAVOC AND ARE CALLED POTHOLE TROLLS.(they look
like a cross between a wooky and a big furby and they make
very strange noises at night) Ah yes a colder brighter icier
Brobdingnag.

by Judith Wood

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