St. Andre’s jungle

Attention whore that I am (why else would anyone start a blog?) I am proud to notice Ken St. Andre’s comment on an earlier post and I am reminded by it of Meinong’s jungle. (If you are too lazy to follow the link, the idea is basically that if words refer to things, then some relationship exists between a word and its referent, and if a word is meaningful it refers to something (a thing that exists), so there must be some manner or form of existence enjoyed by non-existent things like unicorns or square circles. Yes, nonexistent entities. And philosophers have dubbed this plane of existence Meinong’s jungle, as it is presumably a chaotic and densely-inhabited domain, like a jungle as imagined by ivory-tower philosophers. The only jungle I was ever in, in the Yucatan, had no unicorns though.)

So anyway St. Andre’s jungle evidently consists of not just any possible entity, but those nonexistent entities that have captured the imagination of the many. So Smurfs and Santa and Satan and Humpty Dumpty, but not necessarily your imaginary friend from childhood, or a lunatic’s private fantasy world. Conan the Barbarian from the move, and Conan from the comics, and Conan the Cimmerian from the stories of Robert Ervin Howard, all exist there. If I may borrow one of my favorite conceits from the classic & unfairly ridiculed RPG Fantasy Wargaming by Bruce Galloway (which I assume he in turn took from some occult tradition or other), their power and very existence depends on others’ belief… echoes of the original Disney Peter Pan film, and also the rules in Deities & Demigods for apotheosis.

Odin must be there, but in several iterations (the Germanic Woden, the Norse Odin, the Jack Kirby Odin from Marvel Comics…). Maybe certain forgotten beings fade out of nonexistence.  Fictional characters appear, and perhaps continue to persist there or just fade away over time.  Of course every monster you ever read or heard about is there.

St. Andre’s jungle would be a hell of a place to throw your hapless adventurers.  Maybe near Gygax’s Dungeonland.  Or maybe Dungeonland is a district of St. Andre’s jungle?  St. Andre’s jungle should probably be a separate plane of existence, ideally,  intersecting here and there with the prime material plane, probably in certain libraries, where the catalogs have a few pages that fold out into large plates that are actually portals.

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Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 12:41 am  Comments (4)  
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  1. Or it might turn out to be Book World from Nicholas Gurewich’s comic Perry Bible Fellowship. (My other favorite comic involves a boy being teased by bullies for his unicorn t-shirt and then a glory of unicorns comes out of nowhere and tramples the bullies.)

    • I loved that comic but the last time I tried their url it looked like a squatter took over. Haven’t checked in there for some time.

      • He published three collections, and only the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Perry-Bible-Fellowship-Almanack/dp/1593079885/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269546802&sr=1-1"Almanack is still in print. The Almanack has them all, plus creator interviews, sketches, unpublished comics, all kinds of neat stuff. In there, he talks about how he was getting a lot of attention for PBF but he was getting pulled in different creative directions and wanted to stop the comic before it got repetitive and stale.

        If you like PBF, Subnormality‘s also worth a read. They’re wordy–and the author/artist admits that–but the art has some surprising detail. It’s a tad NSFW though, mostly the text. (But then again, so is PBF.)

  2. Reminds me of the scene from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman where they walk through the library that has all the books that were never finished or written and those that should have been, including fictional books.

    Knowing Gaiman, there’s likely some precedence for it, tucked away in the annotated Sandman or somesuch.

    Meinong’s jungle is an interesting concept, thanks!


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