Another Note On Orpheus and Eurydice
[W]hen you choose to work with the Orpheus myth, ...you are searching, in the dark, with your breath and your fingertips, for an art so powerful that, like the art of Orpheus himself, it can suspend or, as it may be, reverse the laws of nature.
[P]erhaps a ghost is not something dead, but something not yet born: not something hidden, but something that we hope is about to be seen. We want to go to the underworld, back into the darkness of our own nature, to bring back some object of impossible beauty: we know it probably won't work, but what matters is that we keep trying. The consolation lies in the attempt itself, the mercy that's granted to the hand that dares to stretch out into the dark: well, we say, I am only human, I've gone to the brink, I have done all that I can. As the last lines of the opera [Monteverdi's L'Orfeo] tell us: "Those who sow in sorrow shall reap the harvest of grace."
-Hilary Mantel, "Ghost Writing"
in The Guardian, July 28, 2007
Because another of my ongoing projects is a series of poems on Orpheus (imagine the task of making that one "new"!), I am always interested in essays about the enduring importance of the myth. I found this one referenced on Maud Newton's blog.
Find the complete article here: