Don't forget the Land of the Lotus Eaters from the Odyssey and Tennyson, where “mild-eyed and melancholy" temptresses ply you with the fruit of the lotus in order to make you lazy, idle and good for nothing. Except for the fresh roofing tar, that doesn't sound all that bad. Fortunately, Vesuvius is your standard run-of-the-mill silicate-spewing volcano. Ah, wouldn't it be lubberly?!In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
There's a land that's fair and bright
Where the handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out ev'ry night.
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain
You never change your socks
And little streams of alcohol
Come a-tricklin' down the rocks.
There's another verse in here, and then…
Oh, the buzzin' of the bees in the cigarette trees
'Round the soda water fountain
Where the lemonade springs and the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountain.
And I really got sidetracked when I learned that the African volcano Oldoinyo Lengai is known as a real-life Big Rock Candy Mountain, because, unlike other volcanoes, it doesn't spout forth red-hot lava, but black lava, as liquid as fresh roofing tar but just a tad hotter. It is Earth's only volcano erupting a carbonate lava instead of a silicate one. Carbonates are a group of minerals that, 99 percent of the time, form in the ocean, coming gently out of solution like sugar crystals in old syrup. Thus, it is a volcano spitting out sweet stuff just ripe for the tasting, if your taste runs to fresh roofing tar, I suppose.
...The medieval Castel Nuovo, bedizened with transparencies in the form of obelisks and urns and thus made to conform stylistically with the spirit of the age; a temple of Public Felicity, actually a fireworks machine that would explode and burn to delight the populace; and the cuccagna, the special treat for the lower orders—a landscaped pavilion constructed of foodstuffs, especially created to be demolished and consumed.Antonio Joli painted a number of versions of the Cuccagna, including the image at the top of this entry. It is entitled Cuccagna al Largo di Palazzo (The Cuccagna in Royal Palace Square). The huge mountain-like structure, right of center, is the Cuccagna "macchina", the Land of Plenty, a mountain of food waiting to be stormed by the masses. These are not just a few hungry people lining up at a soup kitchen. It is, or is about to turn into, a mob getting ready to storm the heights, during which process they will trample each other, knife each other or possibly be maimed by the frequent collapses of parts of the structure. The storming of the mountain was called the "saccheggio" (looting). Joli's uncanny gift for detail in this and other renderings of the same event also shows the onlookers. They are getting ready to watch what had clearly become a violent spectator sport. It is no wonder that visitors from elsewhere expressed disdain. De Sade described one Cuccagna with horror, claiming that when he witnessed it the "macchina" had been intentionally collapsed so as to make the event more exciting and that among the banners and decorations, there were also live animals (!) pinned to the display.
-Del Giudice, Luisa. "Mountains of Cheese and Rivers of Wine" in Imagined States: Nationalism, Utopia and Longing in Oral Cultures, ed. Luisa Del Giudice and Gerald Porter, Utah State University Press, Logan, Utah. 2001.to history portal
-Murray, Alden. "The Court and the Cuccagna" in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, Vol. 18, No. 5 (Jan., 1960), pp. 157-167, pub. MMA.
-Scafoglio, Domenico. La Maschera della Cuccagna, Napoli, Guida, 1994. ^to top