our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness Phaedr. 244a


I begin to sing of Dionysos ivy-crowned, the loud-crying, splendid son of Zeus and glorious Semele.

Pull out your Loeb, Euripides VI with the Bacchea. In the intro, David Kovacs, Virginia boy, writes:

"Some scholars have seen a link between the liberation of restraint offered by Dionysus and the assumption of other roles and personalities that makes drama what it is, and the earliest evidence we have of enactment by impersonation (drama) is the Dionysian festivals of the sixth century B.C."

Drama. Speaking through the mask. That's the place of the storyteller -- so it all speaks to me, 'owing him'*. And that divine bit of grokking by Jean-Francois Matte'i in his The Theater of Myth in Plato...

"At the center of the enclosure built on a hill and opened to the outer world, the drama that holds together the lives of men with the lives of gods, as well as the forces of heaven with those of the earth, enacts the meeting point of all the perspectives to which it communicates its primal unity"
aligns all along a single great axis. What better guide, teacher?


*as I came out of the fog after my cancer surgery fiver years ago, I had a dream: Dionysos turning to me, saying, "You owe me." I do.


I hear you.


go there 

Lapham's Quarterly »

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