Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My vote for stocking stuffer

Somehow, the artificiality of the 
marionette's movements, entirely
controlled by a few strings, most-
ly in fact by one central string,
suggested a dance stripped of all
the self-consciousness and ego-
tism that absorbed the human dan-
cer. And the result was that the
marionette embodied a spiritual
power, a kind of purity, which on-
ly the greatest dancers ever
achieved ..

There is something .. that accords
with our natural yearning to be-
have in a certain way in the world,
to behave in a way that has a sav-
ing simplicity, a basic logic ..
Sometimes, in these quotidian mo-
ments, we feel the purity of which
Kleist speaks, we are freed from
the naturalism of our egotism and
our anxiety - we're quite simply,
transparently there .. what e.e.
cummings was thinking of when he

   any man is wonderful
     and a formula
   a bit of tobacco and 
   plus little derricks
     of gesture.

Jed Perl
Antoine's Alphabet
  Watteau and his world
Knopf, 2008©

5.25" x 7.75" clothbound


  1. Jed Perl, another of my favorite writers but this from an unknown to me book. Amazon, here...

  2. Oh, I'm so happy you happened to drop in, then. This is a wonderful, almost adorable little book, with plenty of personal perceptions whose generosity utterly trumps an occasional reflex of dissent: this is a giving book. I'm very glad to live with it. This excerpt from "K" is naturally quite well aligned with the one for "D," in which Debureau (from Carné's 'Enfants du paradis') is discussed. Fun for the whole family in the method of this book; great play, great affection.