Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A fascinating mental experiment, suggested by a 1904 article by Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust, "The Death of Cathedrals [and the Rites for which they were built]" (Le Figaro, August 16, 1904, English landmark translation by Prof. John Pepino for Rorate Caeli, January 13, 2015):
Suppose for a moment that Catholicism had been dead for centuries, that the traditions of its worship had been lost. Only the unspeaking and forlorn cathedrals remain; they have become unintelligible yet remain admirable.

Then suppose that one day scholars manage, on the basis of documentary evidence, to reconstitute the ceremonies that used to be celebrated in them, for which men had built them, which were their proper meaning and life, and without which they were now no more than a dead letter; and suppose that for one hour artists, beguiled by the dream of briefly giving back life to those great and now silent vessels, wished to restore the mysterious drama that once took place there amid chants and scents—in a word, that they were undertaking to do what the Félibres have done for ancient tragedies in the theatre of Orange. Read more >>

1 comment:

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

It's not about aestheticism.

Aesthetes are ultimately whiners. Look at Balthazar, fercryingoutloud! Dammit, we're the guys who put together the inquisition! We don't whine! We put on our boots and stomp!