6 June 2009

The salmon of Drohobycz

When I wrote the "Bruno" chapter of my book, and described an imaginary scenario in which Bruno flees the failure of civilization, the perfidious language of humans, and joins a school of salmon, I felt that I was close to touching the root of life itself, the primal, naked, impulse of life, which salmon seem to sketch in their long journey, and which the real Bruno Schulz wrote about in his books, and for which he yearned in every one of his stories: the longed-for realm he called the Age of Genius. The Age of Genius was for Schulz an age driven by the faith that life could be created over and over again through the power of imagination and passion and love, the faith that despair had not yet overruled any of these forces, that we had not yet been eaten away by our own cynicism and nihilism. The Age of Genius was for Schulz a period of perfect childhood, feral and filled with light, which even if it lasted for only a brief moment in a person's life would be missed for the rest of his years.
-- David Grossman
The possibility suggests itself that no dreams, however absurd or senseless, are wasted in the universe...Human works have the peculiarity that, once completed, they become hermetic, cut off from nature, consolidated on a base of their own. The work of the [person who is ingenuous and true of heart], in contrast, has not cut itself off from the great cosmic contexts; it is immersed in them half-humanized like a centaur, harnessing to the sublime processes of nature, still unfinished and growing.
-- from The Republic of Dreams by Bruno Schulz

Image: Farmed salmon

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