Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Paper Mirror...

French author Marie-Henri Beyle, better known as Stendhal, famously summarized his craft this way: "A novel is a mirror carried along a high road." In other words, as readers we gaze into this mirror and see a reflection of a much larger world than we could possibly take in ourselves. A world in reverse.

Apropos to this, Stendhal Syndrome (named after the writer's overwhelming reaction to the city of Florence), is a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to extreme beauty, exceptional art, or aesthestically rich environments. I see it as a kind of nausea that arises upon the realization of how much non-beauty we endure in life as compared to how much beauty is capable of being collected and concentrated in creative endeavors.

Incidentally, I have a similar reaction to industrial-sized food containers. Nothing sends me into apoplexies of dementia like a 60 gallon drum of cocktail olives.

("Not to Be Reproduced/La Reproduction Interdit," by René Magritte, 1937)


Anonymous Mike Nesi said...

And then there's Paris Syndrome.

I picture Japanese women having breakdowns on the Champs d'Elysee; Hermés bags splitting open, broken heels, torn nylons and Algerian cabdrivers screaming "Je t'emmerde!" as they drive by.

7:02 AM  

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