IS THIS HISTORY?
A Muse On Historical Fiction
What was this artist thinking? Is this the historical Madonna and Child? Yet we recognize it in a nanosecond. We think of all the development and theology, and the Madonna and Child become timeless. They are real and alive.
No doubt, the artist was not thinking of history, but showcasing his talent and long-honed craft - for notoriety. Even more so for a patron or a sale in hopes he could survive.
Survive - yes . . . Even with his rare and gracious gift. A work to behold. How delicate her hair. How sumptuous the folds of her gown. Does this not mirror the love of God punched into history to intervene on behalf of mankind himself? . . . (there’s a sin).
No, many of us say now. For standing on giant’s shoulders, we see them as they truly were - bigoted, sexist, paternal, randified (did they even think in these terms?). And we strain to find the exception, the character we think most foreshadows us. It appears we live now in a world of exceptions . . .
Jacques Le Goff - my go-to historian on medieval civilization; that poor book I have of his, La Civilisation de l’ Occident Medieval, is so dog-eared and marked-up all these years since 1995. And - no, I don’t read French, but such quotes!
“If we do not keep the obsession with salvation and fear of hell which inspired medieval men in the forefront of our minds, we shall never understand their outlook on life.”
And this one -
“Symbolism was universal, and thought was a perpetual discovery of hidden meaning, a constant ‘hierophany’. For the hidden world was a sacred world, and symbolic thinking was the only elaborated, decanted form, at a learned level, of the magic thinking in which the popular mentality was bathed.”
And so I conceived in MILES CHRISTI, my Norman couple, Aile and Tìbald - the Alice and Ralph Kramden of the First Crusade.
The rules I break . . . even more so about current advice and craft found on “Writer’s” vlogs . . . Not that it’s bad advice . . . Much can be quite good . . . Oh well . . . MILES CHRISTI is coming. What do you have to lose? It’s free.
Sorry for such a short and jagged post, but with the trip back to New Hampshire and work averaging 12+ hours per day, I’m toast. Besides, the last post, GOING HOME, took a bit out of me.
They’ll be more on Melvin Village in the future. In the meantime, here’s a picture I took on the day we moved out. I craved this into one of the beams in the barn.
I pine for New Hampshire Days . . .