Words are Flowing Across Paper Shores of a Wine Dark Sea

Above: The book cover of Scarabocchio and a picture of Grace Andreacchi outside the Church of San Zacccaria in Venezia in winter 2008, merged into a painting by Theobald von Oer called Der Weimarer Musenhof (The Weimer Court of the Muses). Painted in 1860, it depicts Johann Schiller speaking to a group of people, including Goethe, to the right. Wikipedia says this picture is in the public domain. We’ll see.

Listen to the first line of Scarabocchio, by Grace Andreacchi:

I came here first of all to work.  By which I mean not only, nor even in the first place, to make black marks on paper, but also to look about me, to observe the passing scene, to tread in the iron-clad footsteps of dead Crusaders along the black shores of a wine dark sea, to pose for my official portrait with the ancient temple of Segeste serving as the highly appropriate backdrop or stage set if you will. 

And later in the same chapter:

We sailed directly into the heart of a storm, sea and sky were one black and sickening whirlpool.  I lay in the bunk shivering with nausea and fear, watching the rats run back and forth across the tilting walls.  The water came in and I tasted the dark salt wine of the mythopoëic sea.  I shut my eyes tight and was once again an Unborn, rocked in swirling waters, dreaming the pure nameless passions of infancy.  When the sky cleared and the dripping sails were unfurled like the white wings of waterbirds shaking off sleep and I staggered on deck to see the sky blue once again in all its cloudless innocence I was almost sorry to be alive, my head stuffed with thousands and millions of names, names for all things as well as their Latin equivalents.  I would have liked to linger in that salty twilight a little longer, perhaps passing imperceptibly over into death. 

I don’t know if the above collage makes any sense, but I’m rather please with the way it turned out. I got the idea from reading V. Ulea’s review of Grace Andreacchi’s novel, Scarabocchio, at Sein Und Werden

Ulea describes the book as, “A whimsical interlacing of the ideas introduced by Weimar Classicism (including its central concept of harmony and synthesis of Ancient Greek literature and romanticism) and those expressed by Glenn Gould (whose own path can be described as “reconciliation” with Romanticism through Wagner and Strauss) creates a contrapuntal discourse between artists and thinkers of all times.”

So first, I read up on Weimar Classicism. It felt refreshing to swim in a different lake for a change, after playing Marco Polo with Dickens, Conan Doyle, and Wadsworth Camp. This is good stuff.

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