Sunday, 6 May 2012

Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres

The medieval Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres, a Latin Rite Catholic cathedral located in Chartres, about 80 kilometres (50 mi) southwest of Paris, is considered one of the finest examples of the French High Gothic style. The current cathedral, mostly constructed between 1193 and 1250, is one of at least five that have occupied the site since the town became a bishopric in the 4th century.

Lowry mentions the cathedral in 'Hotel Room in Chartres'; "The mornings they spent wandering in the cathedral, St Piat at the south door, that time they lit a candle to their love.." Psalms Pg. 20

While Lowry stayed in the commune of Saint-Prest, he walked the fields to Chartres. A walk that Jacques Laruelle recalls in Under The Volcano, a memory evoked by his passion for Yvonne:

walking over the meadows from Saint Pres, the sleepy French village of backwaters and locks and grey disused watermills where he was lodging, he had seen, rising slowly and wonderfully and with boundless beauty above the stubble fields blowing with wildflowers, slowly rising sunlight, as centuries before the pilgrims straying over the same fields had watched them rise, the twin spires of Chartres Cathedral. His love had brought a peace, for all too short a while, there was strangely like the enchantment, the spell, of Chartres itself, long ago, whose every side-street he had come to love and cafe where he would gaze at the Cathedral eternally sailing against the clouds, the spell not even the fact he was scandalously in debt there could break.

Lowry also mentioned the cathedral in his 1940 version of Under The Volcano; " his wife, his child, his fishing trip, his career, his sun and moon on the twin spires of Chartres cathedral, his immortal, posthumous work on 'Hidden Knowledge,' which would never be written. "Why? (Pg. 93)

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