Underland - Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Robert Macfarlane
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Summary

In Chapter 6, “Starless Rivers,” MacFarlane travels to an underground river in Italy, but first he runs through other famous “starless” rivers, including The Lethe, the Styx, the Phlegethon, the Cocytus and the Acheron, which all converge in Hades. It is no wonder that Greek mythology contains so many underground rivers, MacFarlane observes, because Greece, like Italy, is made up of many karsts or topography formed by soluble rocks that dissolve. These mysterious landscapes are “fabulously complex and imperfectly understood,” making them excellent fodder for dreams, myths and other journeys (178). MacFarlane travels to a famous underground river, The Timavo, in Italy near the border with Slovenia. He stays with his friends Lucian and Maria Carmen who live on the edge of a sinkhole created by the underground hydrology. Rilke began writing the Duino Elegies in a castle nearby. This part of Italy, called the Carso...

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This section contains 1,583 words
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Buy the Underland Study Guide
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