Marginalia on Casanova: St. Orpheus Breviary I

Marginalia on Casanova: St. Orpheus Breviary I

Mikl S. Szentkuthy

Language: English

Pages: 360

ISBN: 0983697248

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Marginalia on Casanova, the first volume of the St. Orpheus Breviary, is Miklos Szentkuthy's synthesis of 2,000 years of European culture. St. Orpheus is Szentkuthy's Virgil, an omniscient, poet who guides us not through hell, but through all of recorded history, myth, religion, and literature, albeit reimagined as St. Orpheus metamorphosizes himself into kings, popes, saints, tyrants, and artists. At once pagan and Christian, Greek and Hebrew, Asian and European, St. Orpheus is a mosaic of history and mankind in one supra-person and veil, an endless series of masks and personae, humanity in its protean, futural shape, an always changing function of discourse, text, myth, & mentalite. Through St. Orpheus' method, disparate moments of history become synchronic, are juggled to reveal, paradoxically, their mutual difference and essential similarity. "Orpheus wandering in the infernal regions," says Szentkuthy, "is the perennial symbol of the mind lost amid the enigmas of reality. The aim of the work is, on the one hand, to represent the reality of history with the utmost possible precision, and on the other, to show, through the mutations of the European spirit, all the uncertainties of contemplative man, the transiency of emotions and the sterility of philosophical systems." Marginalia on Casanova relives the despiritualization of the main protagonist's sensual adventures, though it is less his sex life & more his intellectual mission, the sole determinant of his being, which is the focus of this mesmeric book. Through his own glittering associations and broadly spanning array of metaphors, Szentkuthy analyses and views the 18th century and its notion of homogeneity from the vantage point of the 20th century, with the full armor of someone who was, perhaps, one of the last Hungarian Europeans. While a commentary on Casanova's memoirs, it is also Szentkuthy's very own philosophy of love. Passion, playfulness, irony, and a whole gamut of protean metamorphoses are what characterize Marginalia on Casanova, a work in which readers will experience both profundity and a taking to wing of essay-writing that is intellectually radiant and which is as sensual and provocative as a gondola ride with Casanova.

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longer love but psychology or matrimony or lust or liaison, some dabbling mimicry, anyway. That is something that has to be learned from Casanova: that it is always necessary to want something quite specific in love, something quite practical or, if you will, quite prosaic in order that the latter should be liberated in all its myth-trumping run-wild magic. The root of every poetic type of joy is a matter of prosaic discussion and agreement: an exact contract with the cook, precise deals with the

evident how physically involved Giacomo is, and that causes pleasure, discomposure, poesis, and chaos; as a matter of etiquette they pirouette and blunder in ape freedom: in other words, again the complications of the main subject of civilization, the Neander Valley and finesse. Everyone knows that those people who are at all capable of tenderness and emotional benevolence are ethically much slimier in their sensual moments than otherwise: trembling self-sacrifice is a bodily, not a psychological

fictive ‘opus’ and ‘diary’ would be an intellectual capital crime and damnation (assuming the inspiration of my life is truth rather than beauty): “...sentiment & image: those are realities, a thought is always just a plus floating around that, a vapor, something par excellence not wise and not an essay — the fact that all which exists right now, just the way it is — that, that is a thought, always the tonality of a total reality, constellated of millions of elements, not a theme or a song; it is

care less about nudity; it always steps into a relationship, a woman’s body and spirit are purely momentary, almost abstract sparks of excitation, merely a negligible point that the man should act together with the woman (behavior!), i.e., flee to another level of abstraction. A nude figure does not portray a woman, just adolescent fantasies — women have no body, above all never a naked one —, that is exclusively an anatomically verifiable area of a sick boy’s cerebrum. It is of no consequence

smaller chairs in the internal space; low stools without armrests — small taborets — at the back, by the door. And what sort of love is born on the one or the other! 100. No one could leave off embracing with such naïve insouciance as Casanova. Never so much as a neurotic moan or fit of pique — that, too, he does like a virtuoso playing a Paganini étude. Here, too, the accent is on two, which the fact of breaking does not affect — the one is love, lyrical frenzy, and Italianately sobbing

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