lördag 21 juni 2008

THE GLASS WOMAN

Bläddrandes genom Burtons Anatomy of Melancholy, (What it is: With all the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Prognostickes, and Several Cures of it. In Three Maine Partitions with their several Sections, Members, and Subsections. Philosophically, Historically, Opened and Cut up), en sui generis psykologisk studie över vemodet, finer jag mig likt ett barn i en godisbutik sökande bland sorgens alla manifestationer och villföreställningar efter min personliga avsaknad.

Från det romantiska kärleksvemodet, ytterst Shakespeariskt: "Symptoms are either of body or Mind; of body, Paleness, Leaness, Dryness &c. Avicenna makes hollow eyes, dryness, symptoms of the disease, to go smiling to themselves, or acting as if they saw or heard some delectable object... They pine away, and look ill, with waking, cares, sighs, with groans, griefs, sadness, dulness, want of appetite &c. A reason for this, Jason Parentsis gives, because of the distraction of the spirits, the Liver doth not preform his part, nor turns the ailment into blood as it ought; and for that cause the members are weak for want of sustenance, they are lean and pine, as the herbs of my garden do this month of may, for want of rain." (Skyarna har för övrigt öppnat sig över Edinburgh, denna sorgsna kväll, och tömt sin blåsa över oss vilsna satar, på väg hem från arbetet. Vår skottska trädgård saknar knappast regn.)

Den ensammes melankoli: "Voluntary solitariness is that which is familiar with melancholy, and gently brings on like a siren, a shoeing-horn, or some sphinx to this irrevocable gulf, a primary cause, Piso calls it ; most pleasant it is at first, to such as are melancholy given, to lie in bed whole days, and keep their chambers, to walk alone in some solitary grove, betwixt wood and water, by a brook side, to meditate upon some delightsome and pleasant subject, which shall affect them most; amabilis insania, et mentis gratissimus error; a most incomparable delight it is so to melancholize, and build castles in the air, to go smiling to themselves, acting an infinite variety of parts, which they suppose and strongly imagine they represent (...) So delightsome these toys are at first, they could spend whole days and nights without sleep, even whole years alone in such contemplations, and fantastical meditations, which are like unto dreams, and they will hardly be drawn from them, or willingly interrupt, so pleasant their vain conceits are, that they hinder their ordinary tasks and necessary business, they cannot address themselves to them, or almost to any study or employment, these fantastical and bewitching thoughts so covertly, so feelingly, so urgently, so continually set upon, creep in, insinuate, possess, overcome, distract, and detain them, they cannot, I say, go about their more necessary business, (...) In this labyrinth of anxious and solicitous melancholy meditations, and cannot well or willingly refrain, or easily leave off, winding and unwinding themselves, as so many clocks, and still pleasing their humours, until at last the scene is turned upon a sudden, by some bad object, and they being now habituated to such vain meditations and solitary places, can endure no company, can ruminate of nothing but harsh and distasteful subjects. Fear, sorrow, suspicion, subrusticus pudor, discontent, cares, and weariness of life surprise them in a moment, and they can think of nothing else, continually suspecting, no sooner are their eyes open, but this infernal plague of melancholy seizeth on them, and terrifies their souls, representing some dismal object to their minds, which now by no means, no labour, no persuasions they can avoid, hceret lateri lethalis arundo (the arrow of death still remains in the side), they may not be rid of it, they cannot resist." (En kväll som denna, hur passande, rummet tecknat in a kind of blue, och tystnaden avbrytande min monolog med sin egen, the arrow of death still remains in the side, så poetiskt, så delikat, och hur det skaver i sidan när jag vrider mig i soffan, nåväl, nåväl, ännu en kopp kaffe kära vän, ska vi, åh, visst ska vi.)

Och avslutningsvis villfarelserna, de fantastiska symboliska vanföreställningarna: "An 1550 an advocate of Paris fell into such a melancholy fit, that he believed verily he was dead; he could not be persuaded otherwise, or eat or drink, till a kinsman of his, a Scholar of Bourges, did eat before him, dressed like a corpse... One thinks himself a giant, another a dwarf; one is heavy as lead, another as light as a feather... Another thinks he is a nightingale and therefore sings all night long; another he is all glass, a pitcher, and will therefore let nobody come near him... A baker in Ferrara thought he was composed of butter & durst not sit in the sun, or come near fire, for fear of being melted..." (Iden om en kropp av glas slår givetvis an en sträng hos mig. Av mina många favorit-vanföreställningar, är detta en av de mer poetiska. Kroppen för övrigt nästan genomskinlig vid handleden där benen avtecknas som vita skuggor under skinnet. The Glass Delusion var medeltidens vanföreställning a la mode. För Miserabilis Homuncio, skör, bräcklig och orkeslös, finns väl knappast en bättre symbolik än glasets, det transparenta bräckliga och innehållslösa. Franske Charles den sjätte sydde in järnrevben i sina dräkter. Och en medeltida diagnostiserade uträttade samtliga ärenden, inslagen i en låda fylld med halm. Andra vägrade sitta av rädsla för att bakdelen skulle bräckas under deras tyngd. Cervantes utnyttjade motivet i en novella. Kuriöst nog ramlar jag över ett botemedel mot glasillusionen, i den nu nästan överväldigande skränande tystnaden triggad av kaffets hyperboliska energier, i en av min Faber antologier, citerande Benjamin Rush, Medical Inquiries and Observations upon the Diseases of the Mind 1812: "Cures of patients who suppose themselves to be glass may easily be preformed by pulling a chair upon which they are about to sit from under them, and afterwards showing them a large collection of pieces of glass as the fragments of theur bodies." Vad nytta det nu ska göra att få sina vanföreställningar medicinskt bekräftade. Nåväl, nåväl, mörkret har lagt sig, regnet lättat och glaskvinnan är stilla.)

Glasklänning av Karen Lamonte.

2 kommentarer:

annemarie sa...

Klänningen är så vacker, glaset så dubbelt, skyddande men också lätt att slå sönder. Jag lånade bilden från din blogg - ditt bildurval kan jag prisa högt. Vackra ord och tänkvärda finner jag alltid här. A-M

Ulrika sa...

Melankoli ansågs förr att ha med för mycket svart galla att göra.
Hur som, jag gillar ämnet, kanske därför att jag inte kan fly ifrån att jag känner mig hemma i känslan eller sinnestillståndet. tror också att det har att göra med att melankolin - för mig - hänger samman med mitt komplicerade förhållande till Tiden.