Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"On the Marionette Theatre" by Heinrich von Kleist


  1. I ought to be doing homework, but here are a few scribbly jots of my thoughts concerning the marionettes:
    Art may be mimesis. But to what extent? The difference between imitation of life and caricature is slight. It seems to me that perfecting a human art by using marionettes is artifice. Can a grace devoid of humanity sufficiently express humanity? Its aesthetics carry only so much meaning. And is it grace we wish to see, or the humanity? The look of humanity's grace despite itself, not once removed but wholly present in every movement, seems to me beautiful in spite of its faults. Often, beauty becomes beauty because it is transient. And though the friend claims the “moment of rest is no part of the dance,” I think it may be. Is a “lifeless, pure pendulum” better than an instant of grace from a mortal limb? They exist on entirely different planes; I’m not even certain the two are comparable.
    “So grace itself returns when knowledge has as it were gone through an infinity. Grace appears most purely in that human form which either has no consciousness or an infinite consciousness. That is, in the puppet or in the god.” Lack of consciousness counters humanity. The human form which cannot comprehend its steps performs a meaningless dance, does it not? And the infinite consciousness transcends our human form. This is not a grace we will see, at least not in the present world.
    I think that humanity is the dialectic of grace, the fusion of the unconscious and the infinite conscious. We are the God-breathed earth. Von Kleist’s friend may disagree, but I find a certain beauty in this.

  2. "We are the God-breathed earth."

    Yikes that's good.