EMOTION IN TIME. Psychological traveling along American literature together with Asya Lazar ARDOVA
EMOTION IN TIME
Psychological traveling along American literature together with Asya Lazar ARDOVA
Listen to the soundtrack “Emotion in Time (Ives, Gershwin, Cage, folk)” performed by Asya Lazar Ardova (piano) on the page ardSOUND of ardisonata.net.
It's no use to begin at the beginning. America is the country of psychology, for it's enough to mention, that Sigmund Freud's self-analysis and Carl Jung's archetypes were not only recognized there, but widely used in practice, having been accepted most naturally in everyday life and even in whole state policy.
The introspective analytical attitude nourished American culture with versatile mental heritage of its multinational inhabitants. People learnt to explain desires by means of new expressive methods, making art useful for to relief their mind and to outburst unnecessary boring passions.
Meanwhile, it began with the ballads, arriving to America together with immigrants from all the corners of the world beginning with Columbus' glorious landing on the New World's shores. Self-comprehension started, because mind occurred to be as vast and unpredictable as virgin prairies and caves, and it was not less perilous to embrace it.
Let's scamper over the genre of a short story, the most concentrated dramatic construction. Let’s remember great American masters of a short story, recognizable by their writing manner.
Washington Irving (1783‒1859) starts his narration, and we are somewhere between the European Gothic and American wild exotic nature. Meanwhile, the action he describes sheds keen emotions, that none of his European contemporaries were interested in. He manages to peep behind the time itself. Rip van Winkle is transferred to the near future.
But inhaling the New Time he understands, how far he is from the dearest of his relatives. Time is divided into strata and synchronized, extracting the most anguishing of human fears and dreams, something somnambulistic. And “The Specter Bridegroom” is the kind of a legend-kitsch, for those who are hopelessly impressed by Walter Scott's (1771‒1832) “Baron of Smayl-home”.
Edgar Poe (1809 ‒ 1849) is the contemporary of the European Romanticism. But unlike the personages of his European colleagues, his hero is “I, myself” , who overcomes outer circumstances, only when he overcomes the influence of these circumstances onto his mind. Sometimes this struggle looks rather adventurous, but more often the reader hears “Save my soul” - the appeal of Poe's hero to the highest reason. The ends of his stories are true outbursts, dramatic culminations you are yearning for to relieve your conscience. Such piercing sincerity is akin to ballads — “I Courted Pretty Polly”, or “My Mother Kept a Boarding House” — the confessions of lost vicious people, doomed to remember their crimes for ever with increasing force, that is the greatest punishment for evil...
However, Poe warns that openness is not atonement, and is not fashion, as some scoundrels understand it. Criminal will always live with his sin, even if all the psychological theories approve his circumstances. Black cat is not guilty, if you are cruel and heartless. There are no witches — there are cunning scoundrels.
Poe manifests protests against vice, cruelty, humiliation. And even if the pendulum monotonously agrees with the sorrowful state of prisoners – victims of bloody inquisition, the liberation will come from Napoleon's Army, breaking dungeons and crashing the Time's measure.
Time (Chronos) by the way is the special character for American writers that may be explained partially by the diversity of miraculous geographical zones. Emotionally it's very important to get to the nearer future, or past, or merely to rush out of the boring reality somehow, following Rip van Winkle.
Washington Irving decided it in a manner of some fantastic time-transference.
And our contemporary Ray Bradbury (1920‒2012) uses this transference in Time, but without any magic effect. However, it penetrates under your skin, when Douglas Spaulding starts remembering his former offender from the past years of school. By means of different tricks, Douglas finds this naughty idiot — already a grown-up man, suffering from the same endless boredom as Douglas himself.
The effect of approaching back to the past is most anguished in the “Cabbages and Kings” by O. Henry (1862‒1910), when consul Willard Geddie rushes to the ocean for to reach the letter packed in a bottle (supposedly by his former love, whom he's not going to return to), as if trying to cease the time, he was once happy in. O. Henry concludes as follows: “There is a quaint old theory that man may have two souls — a peripheral one which serves ordinarily, and a central one which is stirred only at certain times, but then with activity and vigour. It is but the revolt of the Ego against Order; and its effect is to shake up the atoms only that they may settle where they belong.”
O. Henry is the author you want to talk to. And reading his stories of kind humour, it seems the author himself is on to listen to you, taking off your troubles and laughing at the ones, whom you find perilous. He is chattering with you, and beside the main subject, such chattering extracts concealed fluctuations out of your soul. O.Henry's dramatic culminations are the highest emotional peaks, after which new reality acquires true freedom of spirit.