From: ma@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Malgosia Askanas)
Date: Sun, 9 Jul 95 10:15:57 EDT
> What I think is vital here is not collapsing writing and self-transformation
> and being done with it there and then. For, as F. says of his writing, "its
> character is instrumental AND visionary or dream-like". From this I would
> aks, how does writing become dream-like or visionary? What kind of
> assumptionns are we making when we equate writing with dreaming?
Well, from a purely experiential side, writing _feels_ a lot like dreaming,
at least to me. Writing involves a giving into, a submitting, which
feels exactly like what one experiences while dreaming. This is of
course a very time-honored connection -- this trance-likeness of not
just writing, but expression in general. When one writes, it feels
like one is partly possessed by something other than oneself, and also
that one is blind, groping in darkness, trying to make out the shape of
things. The Greeks, I think, would say that one is in fact possesed --
perhaps by the Muses. This is a pleasing theoretical framework, since
it does not condemn one to thinking/acting only from within one's own limits.
It so happens that I've just read Lessing's play "Miss Sara Sampson",
written right on the cusp between Classicism and Romanticism.
In one scene Sara, who has eloped with her seducer but has just received
a letter of forgiveness from her father, wonders what it is in her
that -- in spite of these happy news -- makes her full of dark forebodings.
To which Mellefont replies: "This something, dearest Sara, as you have
already said yourself, is the natural, timid incapability to realize
a great happiness Ah, your heart hesitated less to believe itself
unhappy than now, to its own torment, it hesitates to believe in its
own happiness!" Now as you can imagine, the play fully vindicates
Sara's forebodings, although in ways not at all incompatible with
Mellefont's psychological explanation.
I guess what I am trying to grope towards is an inchoate question
about the connection between the difficulty, for us, of the
self-transformation/transgression/dreaming problematic -- the fact
that it _is_ a "problematic" -- and the fact that the Western worldview
of the past N centuries severely stresses self-responsibility, psychological
causation, art/writing as _self_-expression, etc.
> Thanks for indulging me.
I thought it ws the other way around.