Friday, August 28, 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
|Sunset at Wendy's house|
|Roasted peppers with pine nuts|
|From 1794 German translation of Otranto|
"Sot! cried Manfred, in a rage, "is it only a ghost then, that thou hast seen?"
"Oh, worse! worse! my lord," cried Diego: "I had rather have seen ten whole ghosts."
The terrible sight turns out to be a "great giant" hiding in the "chamber next to the gallery."
Image credit: Houghton Library, Harvard University
Saturday, August 15, 2015
|Searching for plums|
|Does she look thin?|
Yet, he goes on to say something that I don't agree with. He writes that the distinctiveness of literature is not due to its language, but rather to its poetic "Verfastheit," from which emerges a store of forms, themes, subjects, motifs, and the like, which all literatures share. But what would be "national" about a particular literary work simply by participating in "sprachübergreifende Beziehungen"? And what does that mean, anyway?
Thursday, August 13, 2015
I continue to make my way through Jane Brown's Goethe's Allegories of Identity. The chapter “The Scientific Self: Identity in Faust” is an analysis of role playing. It continues her examination of Goethe's literary responses to Rousseau, in the case of Faust the representation of the lack of fixed identities. Jane Brown is an expert on Faust, and her rapid fielding of textual examples that “reflect” (which includes mirrors) the instability of identity follow one another as rapidly as the shifting cloud shapes (another reflection of instability) in that play. Even the shifting forms (“schwankende Gestalten”) of the opening lines of the play announce the theme of instability. One must read the chapter slowly.
Let me quote Brown herself here: “The process of recurrent destabilization is largely driven by theatricality, the primary mode of representing the world in Faust.” Everyone “plays a role” in this drama, even God in his opening scene with Mephistopheles, who first appears to Faust not as “himself” but as a black poodle. Faust thus becomes not simply a case study of shifts of identity, but also of the instability of identity. Throughout, there are “parodic or collateral versions of Faust the striver.”
|My first salmon "catch" of the season|
In the previous chapter, “The Theaterical Self,” in which Egmont, Tasso, and Iphigenie were analyzed in regard to this instability of self, Brown mentions in passing the mixing in Egmont of an 18th-century neoclassical political tragedy and a sentimental tragedy. As she remarks, the play separates the two genres into separate scenes. This subject interests me very much, as I have written on the poetic mixing of genres in a similar play, Clavigo. My essay (Goethe Yearbook, vol. 8 : pp. 1-27) addressed the range of Goethe’s literary efforts of the 1760s and early 1770s, when Goethe was clearly more imitative. Yet, while experimenting in a variety of traditional forms (e.g., pastoral, anacreontic), he was not necessarily faithful to his literary models. Clavigo, as I argued, received its “existential weight” by such poetic contamination: the introduction into a classicist play of a non-heroic (i.e., bourgeois) character literally altered the character’s self-conception. Clavigo, almost literally, did not know “who he was.” The drama Faust, of course, is a mixing of the most diverse poetic genres and meters, of which Brown's reading reminds us anew.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
|Goethe Girl prepares to launch|
|Looking for plums|
And of course I have finally got down to work. Aside from finishing my own book, I read every day a bit of Jane Brown’s Goethe’s Allegories of Identity.
|Getting ready for the starting gun|
|First Nations boat|
Photos: Alert Bay 360
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
More news to come, but among the things I have brought with me is a copy of Jane Brown's Goethe's Allegories of Identity, of which I have a review to write.