Prospero's Cell: And Reflections on a Marine Venus

Prospero's Cell: And Reflections on a Marine Venus

Prospero's Cell: And Reflections on a Marine Venus

Prospero's Cell: And Reflections on a Marine Venus

Excerpt

'No tongue: all eyes: be silent.'

The Tempest

Some between Calabria and Corfu the blue really begins. All the way across Italy you find yourself moving through a landscape severely domesticated--each valley laid out after the architect's pattern, brilliantly lighted, human. But once you strike out from the flat and desolate Calabrian mainland towards the sea, you are aware of a change in the heart of things: aware of the horizon beginning to stain at the rim of the world: aware of islands coming out of the darkness to meet you.

In the morning you wake to the taste of snow on the air, and climbing the companion-ladder, suddenly enter the penumbra of shadow cut by the Albanian mountains--each wearing its cracked crown of snow--desolate and repudiating stone.

A peninsula nipped off while red hot and allowed to cool into an antarctica of lava. You are aware not so much of a landscape coming to meet you invisibly over those blue miles of water as of a climate. You enter Greece as one might enter a dark crystal; the form of things becomes irregular, refracted. Mirages suddenly swallow islands, and wherever you look the trembling curtain of the atmosphere deceive.

Other countries may offer you discoveries in manners or lore or landscape; Greece offers you something harder--the discovery of yourself.

10.4.37

It is a sophism to imagine that there is any strict dividing line between the waking world and the world of dreams. N. and I, for example, are confined by the sense of several comtemporaneous lives being lived inside us; the sensation of being mere points of . . .

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