Letter: Spiritual perceptions of the late 20th century

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The Independent Online
Sir: As a morris dancer, I was faintly annoyed by Marc Vyvyan- Jones's implication (letter, 30 December) that the morris has a traditional association with the solstices. Not so. The morris was introduced into England in the 15th century, linked with celebrations at Christian festivals.

As a historian, I am more than a little cross at those who distort the historical record to add a bogus antiquity to their fantasies. There was, for example, no association between morris dancing and any ancient monument.

As a Christian, I am frankly appalled by Mr Vyvyan-Jones's glib claim to be both a Christian and a pagan. I can only assume that he, like Humpty Dumpty, has his own private definition of the word.

However, his posturings cannot be dismissed out of hand. They should be recognised as symptomatic of a widespread and deeply felt unease with modern life - of the kind, for example, that inspired the Pre-Raphaelites. In other words, they tell us more about the late 20th century than they do about the seasons, the Bronze Age, or Jesus Christ.

Yours faithfully,

MATTHEW ALEXANDER

Guildford, Surrey

30 December

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