domingo, janeiro 16, 2011

of sleep and dreams...

Of sleep, every evening's sinister adventure, it may be observed that men go daily to their beds with an audacity which would be beyond comprehension did we not know that is the result of their ignorance of danger.

Baudelaire
in Susan Sontag's "The Benefactor"

...Part of the obligatory method of the roman nouveau is the use of the novel as a vehicle for the retelling of an ancient myth. Towards the end of "The Benefactor" what might have been suspected is revealed. Hippolyte is, of course, Hippolytus of the Greek myth, whose stepmother, Phaedra, attempts to seduce him; he refuses and she wreaks her revenge. We are told this, typically, in the form of a dream. "In the dream," Hippolyte recounts, "I am my famous namesake of myth and drama vowed to celibacy. Frau Anders is my lusty stepmother. But since this is a modern version of the story I do not spurn her. I accept her advances, enjoy her, and then cast her off. As the goddess in the opening of the ancient play declares, those who disregard the power of Eros will be chastised. Perhaps that is the meaning, or one of them, of all my dreams." (...)
 (Review by Daniel Stern, NYTimes - September 8, 1963)

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