Thursday, May 31, 2007

"Le romantisme, c'est la révolution"

"Romanticism is the primitive, the untutored, it is youth, the exuberant sense of life of the natural man, but it is also pallor, fever, disease, decadence, the maladie du siècle, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, the Dance of Death, indeed Death itself. It is Shelley's dome of many-coloured glass, and it is also its white radiance of eternity. It is the confused teeming fullness and richness of life, Fülle des Lebens, inexhaustible multiplicity, turbulence, violence, conflict, chaos, but also it is peace, oneness with the great 'I Am', harmony with the natural order, the music of the spheres, dissolution in the eternal all-containing spirit. It is the strange, the exotic, the grotesque, the mysterious, the supernatural, ruins, moonlight, enchanted castles, hunting horns, elves, giants, griffins, falling water, the old mill on the Floss, darkness and the powers of darkness, phantoms, vampires, nameless terror, the irrational, the unutterable. Also it is the familiar, the sense of one's unique tradition, joy in the smiling aspect of everyday nature, and the accustomed sights and sounds of contended, simple, rural folk - the sane and happy wisdom of rosy-cheeked sons of the soil. It is the ancient, the historic, it is Gothic cathedrals, mists of antiquity, ancien roots and the old order with its unanalysable qualities, its profound but inexpressible loyalties, the impalpable, the imponderable. Also it is the pursuit of novelty, revolutionary change, concern with the fleeting present, desire to live in the moment, rejection of knowledge, past and future, the pastoral idyll of happy innocence, joy in the passing instant, a sense of timelessness. It is nostalgia, it is reverie, it is intoxicating dreams, it is sweet melancholy and bitter melancholy, solitude, the sufferings of exile, the sense of alienation, roaming in remote places, especially the East, and in remote times, especially the Middle Ages. But also it is happy co-operation in a common creative effort, the sense of forming part of a Church, a class, a party, a tradition, a great and all-containing symmetrical hierarchy, knights and retainers, the ranks of the Church, organic social ties, mystic unity, one faith, one land, one blood, 'la terre et les morts', as Barrès said, the great society of the dead and the living and the yet unborn. [...] It is, in short, unity and multiplicity. It is fidelity to the particular, in the paintings of nature for example, and also mysterious tantalising vagueness of outline. It is beauty and ugliness. It is art for art's sake, and art as an instrument of social salvation. It is strength and weakness, individualism and collectivism, purity and corruption, revolution and reaction, peace and war, love of life and love of death."
Isaiah Berlin, The Roots of Romanticism, In Search of a Definition

In summary, Romanticism contains in one single hat all the conflicting feelings of the woman and of the man.

Beethoven, a figure of the Romantic movement

"The figure who dominates the nineteenth century as an image is the tousled figure of Beethoven in his garret. Beethoven is a man who does what is in him. He is poor, he is ignorant, he is boorish. His manners are bad, he knows little, and he is perhaps not a very interesting figure, apart from the inspiration which drives him forward. But he has not sold out. He sits in his garret and he creates. He creates in accordance with the light which is within him, and that is all that a man should do; that is what makes a man a hero."
Isaiah Berlin, The Roots of Romanticism, In Search of a Definition

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Les "Etrangers" et la Résistance

Les "Etrangers" formaient une bonne part de la Résistance dans le maquis français (Polonais, Italiens, Espagnols, etc) durant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale. Leur "étrangeté" leur a valu parfois d'être sacrifiés vers la fin de la guerre par la Résistance "française"...

"Alors je me souviens que le mot "Etranger" est une des plus belles promesses du monde, une promesse en couleurs, belle comme la Liberté."
Marc Levy, Les Enfants de la Liberté, dernière phrase.