Presentation on theme: "The Uses of Exile Metaphor as a Way of Knowing Dr Robert DiNapoli www.themelbourneliteratureseminars.com.au."— Presentation transcript:
The Uses of Exile Metaphor as a Way of Knowing Dr Robert DiNapoli www.themelbourneliteratureseminars.com.au
The Wanderer (Old English, ca 900 CE) Oft him anhaga are gebideð, metudes miltse, þeah þe he modcearig geond lagulade longe sceolde hreran mid hondum hrimcealde sæ, wadan wræclastas. Wyrd bið ful aræd! Many times the lonely man waits for grace, for the Arbiter's mercy, although with careworn mind he must brave the sea's numbing distances, stirring its ice-cold waters with his hands, treading the paths of exile. Fate is fixed! (trans.Bob DiNapoli)
So I must keep my heart in chains as I go, always wretched, in exile from my homeland, far from my kin, since long ago I buried my gracious lord in the shadows beneath the soil, and then I left, winter-minded, across the writhing waves, in wretched grief for my hall and my generous lord. I've searched both far and near for any place where I could find someone who understood my plight, who'd comfort this friendless wretch within his hall and treat me kindly. The Wanderer ll. 19-29 winter-minded < OE wintercearig
A newborn is scarcely conscious of existing as a physically distinct entity from his or her mother.
Van Gogh Child Crawling From an early age we are obliged to negotiate a world of gravity and hard edges. Every fall and bump tells us more about ourselves.
Homeric psychology: Athena restrains Achilles from killing Agamemnon. [J]ust as he drew his huge blade from its sheath, down from the vaulting heavens swept Athena, the white-armed goddess Hera sped her down: Hera loved both men and cared for both alike. Rearing from behind him Pallas siezed his fiery hair-- only Achilles saw her, none of the other fighers struck with wonder he spun around, he knew her at once, Pallas Athena! the terrible blazing of those eyes, and his winged words went flying: Why, why now? Child of Zeus with the shield of thunder, why come now? To witness the outrage Agamemnon just committed?... Down from the skies I come to check your rage if only you will yield... And I tell you thisand I know it is the truth one day glittering gifts will lie before you, three times over to pay for all his outrage. Hold back now. Obey us [Athena and Hera] both. From Homer, Iliad, Book I (ca 900 BCE) trans. Robert Fagles
All that remains of that beloved company is a wall, marvellously high, adorned with writhing forms; hosts of spears, weapons hungry for death, and irresistible Fate have snatched away the warriors. And storms now batter these stony cliffs; falling ice fetters the world, winter's tumult and chaos. Then darkness comes. The shadows of night grow deep; fierce hailstorms torment men from out of the north. the realms of the earth are plunged in distress; the course of Fate deranges the world beneath the skies. Here wealth is fleeting, and friends will pass away. Here man will surely fail and kinship falter. Every abode on earth will stand deserted. The Wanderer ll. 96-109 (trans. Bob DiNapoli)
ancient Hebrew ruah (wind, spirit, breath) Greek pneuma (wind, spirit, breath) cp. modern English pneumonia, pneumatic, pneumatology Latin spiritus (wind, spirit, breath) cp. modern English spirit, respiration, inspiration, aspiration
But soft! What light on yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Romeo and Juliet II.ii.2-3
The Seventeenth Century: You Want Metaphors? We Got Metaphors! We Got Metaphysical Conceits, Even! from Prayer (I) Prayer the church's banquet, angel's age, God's breath in man returning to his birth, The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage, The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth Engine against th' Almighty, sinner's towr... George Herbert from Valediction: Forbidden Mourning If they [our souls] be two, they are two so As stiff twin compasses are two ; Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show To move, but doth, if th' other do. John Donne
Papa above! Regard a Mouse Oerpwered by the Cat! Reserve within thy kingdom A mansion for the Rat! Snug in seraphic Cupboards To nibble all the day, While unsuspecting cycles Wheel solemnly away. Emily Dickinson, ca 1859
Coat Hangers Galore Clubbable and promiscuous, they hang around getting under your feet while always intending to be helpful; wiry and would-be athletic they just keep falling into a tangle putting a foot in someone elses mouth. Chris Wallace Crabbe