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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review: Substance Clad In Shadows - Nietzsche and the Eternal Return

Fanfiction: Substance Clad In Shadows
I've been the prey, praying for a way out of mazes of my own making. Weak, wanton. 
ch 25

He eyes me warily. "You don't know what I want."
But I'm sure I do. Because everyone wants power, but few understand that it isn't titles or speeches or money — it's a whisper in a dark place, a kiss in the corner, a shapeless something in the shadows.

It's in the predatory smile of a young man as he seduces his prey on the cold stone bench of a garden maze. ch 26

I smile at him and inhale, searching for the familiar rush, the beginning of something new, an escape from escape itself:

Freedom. ch 22

He complies, shoving into me hard, hard, hard enough to hurt but it's good, it's the best and I want more. Suddenly I'm moving through the deep, through the dark, through a red haze and an old maze that unfurls like a wrinkled banner and there is no monster here, no blood or victory, there's nothing but release and freedom and up, up, up until I breach the surface of a faraway sun, gasping as I come. The sound is ugly and sharp. ch 22

Is the myth of Daedalus and Icarus well known enough?

King Minos of Knossos had commissioned the Athenian artisan Daedalus to design a labyrinth in which to imprison the monster the Minotaur. Daedalus gave the key of the maze to Minos's daughter Ariadne, who gave it to her lover Theseus so he could enter the labyrinth, slay the Minotaur and find his way out. For this he left her and she became consoled by Bacchus (Dionysius), the god of wine, laughter, excess. For his disobedience Daedalus and his son Icarus are imprisoned in the labyrinth and Daedalus knows the only way out is the sky. He designs wings for them to fly out telling Icarus not to fly too low and be drowned in the sea, nor too high or the sun will melt the wax securing the feathers of his wings. 

In other words, "Take the middle road. Not the road of excess."
Icarus flew too close to the bright hot sun and perished, drowning in the Aegean Sea.

Another variation has Theseus laying a thread down as he enters the labyrinth to slay the Minotaur, so he can find his way out.

And Bella is constantly "following the thread" in her thinking and actions.
But then breathe,
breathe again,
and follow the thread, ch 26

The myth of Daedalus and Icarus

King Minos and Daedalus had great understanding at first, but their relationships started deteriorating at some point; there are several versions explaining this sudden change, although the most common one is that Daedalus was the one who advised Princess Ariadne to give Theseus the thread that helped him come out from the infamous Labyrinth, after killing the Minotaur.  http://www.greekmyths-greekmythology.com/myth-of-daedalus-and-icarus/

The most important aria in either version is "Großmächtige Prinzessin" / "high and mighty princess", is sung by Zerbinetta. Other important pieces of the opera are the arias of Ariadne "Wo war ich...?" / "Where was I...?", "Ein schönes war es..." / "There was something beautiful..." and "Es gibt ein Reich..." / "There is a realm..." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariadne_auf_Naxos

Bella's beloved Ilse her German Nanny of her childhood, who refuses to drug her and leaves would connect the German language and the music.

Her reply is unintelligible, and then footsteps fade, leaving only Ilse's soft, half-sung German.
"Weißt du, wieviel Mücken spielen
in der heißen Sonnenglut?
Wie viel Fische auch sich kühlen
in der hellen Wasserflut?" ch 24 

Substance Clad In Shadows has a scene near the end at the opera when Turandot is being performed. I would suggest an editing with Ariadne auf Noxos instead. The novel consistently is structured round the metaphor of the labyrinth - the maze - on a real and conceptual level. Ariadne auf Noxos begins with Ariadne in a grief stricken state because Theseus has left her. 

Bella's intention is to free Edward and make him hers. To tear the veil of illusion - maya -  from his being as she has done with the others, who revile her for doing so. She is going to slay the god of her childhood, destroy him as he is now, but she becomes caught in her own maze game, as Daedalus  was caught in his labyrinth. She also tries to fly out but finds there is nowhere to go. She is caught in the Foucauldian Grid of power/knowledge/normality/capital, another name for The Maze of mythology. Her only flight is the excessiveness of Eros.
The genius of this fanfic is that hollelujah has fictionalized the Panopticon, the surveillance mechanism in the Foucauldian Grid 
of power/knowledge/normality/capital
If I listen closely enough, I can hear the clink of glasses from the rooms inside, the 

chatter of his 

parents' guests, so perfectly groomed, raised to their places by a million petty rules, by 


captivity of caring for reputation, for convention. ch 26

The ubiquitous people. Always asking, always talking.

Good of them to notice I was gone," I reply.

If my father

 notices my sarcasm, he does not acknowledge it. "Everyone notices 

everything. Reputations rise and fall on perception, Isabella. Ours 

could be destroyed in a minute." ch 27

"Randolph Bourne said that 'Society is one vast conspiracy for carving one into the kind of statue it likes,
and then placing it in the most convenient niche it has.'"ch 9

 "There is no choice," I choke out. "There's 

nothing else." ch 26 

"There is no outside," says Vija Kinski quoting 


There is no knowledge that is not power, my father quotes from behind a stately-looking podium. - Emerson  ch 23

She understands that seduction is the only way out to endure the Grid, the Matrix. An endless seduction that raises the ante, that increasingly challenges, challenges increasingly, within Nietzsche's Eternal Return.

Because it can't be love. I don't want poems or well-wishes and I will not sacrifice for his happiness, I want nothing to do with it if it means letting him go. ch 26 (Ayn Rand)

I am not enough — but I will be enough. ch 26

And what we have here is a relationship from the future. A sign of a possibility from the future. A possibility that we can provide space and time around it to nourish it, to bring it into being. A relationship that does not leave a man wanting a prostitute for the kind of sex he cannot get or ask for anywhere else. A relationship that does not leave a woman bored and yearning and longing. An erotic relationship where each is both prey and predator turning around and around, challenging each other, seducing each other, wanting each other, gratifying each other. Two people who do not need to provoke sex from others for variety, because they create their own variety. 

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