Looking closely at the text, which is beautiful in itself, one perceives that the thane's thought opposes certain age-old habits of mind which persist even today. Those who, like Vigny, see life as a luminous interval between two infinite periods of darkness readily depict those two shadowy zones of before and after as inert and undifferentiated, a kind of frontier of nothingness. For Christians, despite their belief in a blessed or infernal immortality, what will follow after death (they pay little attention to what came before life) is perceived, above all, as eternal rest. Invideo, quia quiescunt, said Luther. For this unknown man, in contrast, the bird issues from a storm and returns into a tempest. Between these two storms, the thane interprets the flight of the bird across the hall as a moment of respite (spatio serenitatis). That's quite surprising. Edwin's thane knew perfectly well that a bird which has flown into a house of men darts about madly, running the risk of dashing itself against walls, of burning itself in the fire. Life as we know it is hardly a moment of respite. Yet, there it is.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011 § 0
Tossed and turned when I tried to sleep yesterday, and my mind caught on this piece by Tin, discussing Bede's Ecclesiastical History Of the English People. Excerpt below.
- ► 2012 (13)