Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Pleasure of the Overstuffed

These days nearly every book I open floats the name Giordano Bruno before my eyes. Perhaps I also knew about him at some other point in my life but forgot? I am trying to explain why I wanted to name my son Bruno because of my unaccountable affection for the name, but yielded as everyone thought it a terrible idea. Pehrpas it indicates that what I really wanted was a puppy?

I know little about Bruno besides what I've gathered in scant reading, that some believe his execution for his beliefs in 1600 began modernity, that his work The Cabala of Pegasus influenced James Joyce, that he had formidable mnemonic skill. My impession is that he was one about whom people say, "he was too smart for his own good" and his death may have been indicative of his confidence's collision with his benefactor's belief systems and self-importance.

The paragraph below I excerpted from The Heroic Frenzies, which studies the dynamics within desire's alembic. It is so packed it nearly rips apart at the seams. I hope you enjoy the tension.

What a tragicomedy! What act, I say, more worthy of pity and laughter can be presented to us upon this world's stage, in this scene of our consciousness, than of this host of individuals who became melancholy, meditative, unflinching, firm, faithful, lovers, devotees, admirers and slaves of a thing without trustworthiness, a thing deprived of all constancy, destitute of any talent, vacant of any merit, without acknowledgment or any gratitude, as incapable of sensibility, intelligence or goodness, as a statue or image painted on a wall; a thing containing more haughtiness, arrogance, insolence, contumely, anger, scorn, hypocrisy, licentiousness, avarice, ingratitude and other ruinous vices, more poisons and instruments of death than could have issued from the box of Pandora? For such are the poisons which have only too commodious an abode in the brain of that monster! Here we have written down on paper, enclosed in books, placed before the eyes and sounded in the ear a noise, an uproar, a blast of symbols, of emblems, of mottoes, of epistles, of sonnets, of epigrams, of prolific notes, of excessive sweat, of life consumed, shrieks which deafen the stars, laments which reverberate in the caves of hell, tortures which affect living souls with stupor, sighs which make the gods swoon with compassion, and all this for those eyes, for those cheeks, for that breast, for that whiteness, for that vermilion, for that speech, for those teeth, for those lips, that hair, that dress, that robe, that glove, that slipper, that shoe, that reserve, that little smile, that wryness, that window-widow, that eclipsed sun, that scourge, that disgust, that stink, that tomb, that latrine, that menstruum, that carrion, that quartan ague, that excessive injury and distortion of nature, which with surface appearance, a shadow, a phantasm, a dream, a Circean enchantment put to the service of generation, deceives us as a species of beauty.


Anonymous said...

Awesome quote. Positively dripping. Swollen. Engorged. Overflowing. A torrent of falling water. Tidal. The mind bursting forth like an undammed sea. Spraying out in all directions.

And I think you should go ahead and name your dog Giordano Bruno. Guy was an unappreciated genius, one of the first people in the west to seriously consider the idea of life on other planets...A weirdo way ahead of his time...

amarilla said...

Made a big impression on me too, in spite of the misogyny. I look forward to reading more of the weirdo.