Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Moment with James Hillman



In this world there was no place for Eurydike, except as enchanted listener, a follower, which [Orpheus] recognized she could not be. As he let go, or she let go, as he looked back because she was letting go, did he see that it was not her he desired but the longing inspired by her image. It was her image he needed to hold on to rather than her hand. To keep the loss of her, loss as keepsake--that is what sounds through her Orphic voice.

At that moment begins Orpheus's fateful chastity--not as abstinence and frustration, or misogyny and homosexuality (the conventions that would explain it) but chastity as that energizing fidelity to the beloved image--like Petrarch, like Dante--the chastity of longing required by the poetic calling, giving it wings that expand through the widest cosmos, and make possible a cosmological, an Orphic, imagination.

-James Hillman, "Orpheus," in Mythic Figures: Volume 6.1 of the Uniform Edition of the Work of James Hillman (Spring Hill Publications, 2007), p. 307.

2 Comments:

Blogger Marc Brenman said...

Thanks. I'm a fan of James Hillman. His new collected writing and speaking is quite something. I liked your comments on William Logan also.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Marc Brenman said...

Thanks. I'm a fan of James Hillman. The new set of his collected writing and speaking is quite something. I liked your column on William Logan also.
Marc Brenman
mbrenman001@comcast.net

11:23 AM  

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