blind cat dreams

in blogalectic with Masha and Jenna

The girl dreams she is dangerously ill. Suddenly birds come out of her skin and cover her completely. […] Swarms of gnats obscure the sun, the moon, and all the stars except one. That one star falls upon the dreamer.

~ C.G. Jung

τε καὶ ὥρμησε φύεσθαι ἀπὸ τῆς ῥίζης
ὁ τοῦ πτεροῦ καυλὸς ὑπὸ πᾶν τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς εἶδος:
πᾶσα γὰρ ἦν τὸ πάλαι πτερωτή

Phaedrus §251

One can imagine stories without rational cohesion and yet filled with associations, like dreams; and poems that are merely lovely sounding, full of beautiful words, but also without rational sense and connections—with, at the most, individual verses which are intelligible, like fragments of the most varied things.

Novalis (MacDonald’s translation)

unsettling wonder

Household Tales: A Grimm Read-through



his is without question one of the Great Tales. Whether or not one admits the idea of a Canon, one must admit that this tale is canonical. It may be impossible to grow up in Western culture without encountering this tale in some form. Although we recognize the tale more immediately through Perrault’s ‘Cinderilla,’ it is, perhaps, the Grimms’ version that best encapsulates its imaginative complexity.

Since everybody knows this tale—or should—I will spare you my usual summary and discuss the structure of the tale itself, and the importance of several of its symbols, to suggest one reason—perhaps among many—for this tale’s endurance, or immortality. For me, it’s a sort of critical experiment, and has to do with colour, marriage, and redemption.

Continue reading

unsettling wonder

Household Tales: A Grimm Read-Throughillus-064  illus-056-titleillus-056t

his tale is not about me. Really.  It’s not a tale I want to be about me, either. Oh, the title’s OK, the title’s cool. But the tale isn’t the sort of thing you want to happen to anyone.

That’s not exactly correct. It’s sort of the sort of thing that does happen. But not exactly.

There are probably two or three possible tales layered within this tale. ‘Faithful John’ can be read as an icon for fidelity and redemption, a psychological analogy for sexual exploitation and gender conflict, or a grim cultural memory of cabbalistic ritual, ordeal, and sacrifice.

Perhaps most correctly, it can be read as all three.

That’s part of the beautiful, crazy experience of being human.

Continue reading