Thursday, June 09, 2011

Minos et Pasiphae

[...] a story from the trenches of the First World War, which was recounted many years later by the German playwright Carl Zuckmayr. A friend of Zuckmayr's, a medic in the German Army, told how his unit captured a seriously wounded Indian solider serving in the British Army. To save the man's life, the German doctors needed to amputate one of his legs, but since they didn't speak English, they couldn't communicate this to the increasingly terrified prisoner. Finally, the medic hit on the idea of saying tghe only remotely Indian words he knew "Rabindranath Tagore! Rabindranath Tagore! Rabindranath Tagore!" The name acted like a charm, and the Indian soldier relaxed, nodded, and began to smile. (A Kirsch, "Modern Magus", The New Yorker, May 30 2011, p.75) || "Pascal himself claimed that Molinists were correct concerning the state of humanity before the Fall, while Calvinists were correct regarding the state of humanity after the Fall." || Critics will always be jealous of poets and find elaborate reasons for their acrimony (G Steiner, The Death of Tragedy, Faber and Faber, 1961, p.54) || Could the agonized Indian really have understood the German pronunciation of the English version of a Bengali name? (Kirsch, "Modern Magus") || But [Alexandre] Hardy was no mere hack. He embodied that part of the baroque which is a kind of pure, joyous energy. His range is fairly described by the repertoire of the Players in Hamlet: "tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral; scene indivisible, or poem unlimited." (Steiner, 52)