Sunday, November 6, 2011
Almost a Palimpsest
they are trite, too. But we're reading about the Holy Greyhound for my Gothic class (Jean-Claude Schmitt's classic) and I can't wait to read it with new eyes.
I keep thinking that if I can get through these trite but meaningful erasures, if I can (what?) see to the other side of the page, I might become that most wonderfully transformed of medieval matters: the palimpsest. The manuscript scraped clean and rewritten. (Here is a current, fascinating example). There has been, equally in this semester, plenty of materials for re-awakening: a visit by Yo-Yo Ma and transcendence, a beautiful funny and true (more transcendence) story from my dear friend in Brittany, the exciting, energetic work of others... I think that there's something transformative going on - or my attention is skewed, or I'm getting older and feeling some frailty (the ever-helpful French phraseology calls it a "coup de vieux"); or we're just far enough out from Brittany that we've lost the vitality that infused us all there; or maybe in all this summer's thinking about a world filled with the agency of non-living entities, I have lost some of my own - which I can't see as all a bad thing. A certain humility to one's past, to a virus, and to a dog may yet uncover new ways in which the world moves.