Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dance and the Soul

Dance and the Soul by Paul Valery, translated by Dorothy Bussy, 43 pages

In Dance and the Soul, Valery imagines a dialogue between Socrates, his disciple Phaedrus, and the physician Eryximachus as the three, having just enjoyed a sumptuous banquet, observe a dance by a woman named Athikte.  In the course of their discussion, the dance is found to express something ultimately ineffable - as Phaedrus exclaims, "By the Muses, no feet have ever made my lips so envious!"  For Valery, the dancer is, as the title indicates, representative of the soul as it moves through the vanishing present from a past that no longer is towards a future that is not yet, striving for realization and understanding and an escape from the tedium of the visible.

1 comment:

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