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(April 19, 2002)


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With all due respect to Pink Floyd, a lot of classrooms I've been in could have used some dark sarcasm

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🦋 Ontological Planes

None could comprehend the light of his face
The sun next to him a handful of clay

His mouth's essence was mysterious Lahut
His every vow a mirage of Nasut

--Love and Beauty (509-10)

The glossary at the back of the book identifies Nasut and Lahut as "ontological levels," respectively, of the human and the divine. Here's some of what Hazrat Inayet Khan had to say about it:

posted this morning: Respond
➳ More posts about Sufi Epics


🦋 Persian epic

They chose for the girl the name of Beauty
The chosen son was named Love unhappy

As time went on, some called Beauty Leyla
Some called her Shirin, and others Azra

Then some gave the name of Majnun to Love
Some called him Vamik, and others Ferhad

--Love and Beauty (305-7)

Is the intended reading that all of these epics are retellings of the same story?

posted Thursday evening: Respond
➳ More posts about The Black Book


🦋 Whose voice?

Mehmet, Pamuk, Jelal, Galip, me?

posted Monday morning: Respond
➳ More posts about Orhan Pamuk

Tuesday the 13th

🦋 Jelal's columns written by Galip

In part II of The Black Book, Galip writes three columns in the style of Jelal and delivers them to Milliyet. Which of the columns that are reprinted in the book are by Galip? Certainly chapter 31, "The Story Goes Through the Looking Glass," is; and I thought chapter 29, "I Turned Out to be the Hero" might be as well.

It was fun to read "The Story Goes Through the Looking Glass" this evening right after I had read Victoria Rowe Holbrook's introduction to Love and Beauty, and understand more of the references. I expect I will need to read the book yet another time...

posted evening of the 13th: Respond

Sunday the 4th

🦋 Nawfal

It seems clear that the story of Layla and Majnun is understood as an allegory for the believer's unquenchable thirst for God. But I'm having trouble getting this line of meaning out of the story itself... I'm about midway through, and Majnun's friend Nawfal has led his army against Layla's tribe, seeking to capture her and lay waste--

Like lion’s claws the spears tore breasts and limbs, the arrows drank the sap of life with wide open beaks like birds of prey; and proud heroes, heads severed from trunks, lay down for the sleep of eternity.
Majnun renounces the quest a few pages later but Nawfal is about to go on the attack again, mustering up reserves... and I'm thinking, how the hell does this fit into the allegory? The gore is nice and vivid in an epic-poetry sort of way.

"Love is Fire and I am Wood" makes no mention of Nawfal, it seems strange to me to ignore such a central character.

Update turns out my confusion was based on a confusion between Nizami's epic romance and the underlying story. (See comments.)

posted morning of the 4th: 2 responses

Saturday the third

🦋 A couple of Sufi links

While I am reading The Black Book I'm developing something of an interest in Rumi and by extension in Sufi. Here are a couple of links I've tracked down that seem like worthwhile further reading.

More as I find it.

Also -- I updated the Pamuk Bibliography with link to an essay by Saniye Çancı Çalışaneller, "Doppelgänger in Orhan Pamuk’s The Black Book".

posted afternoon of the third: 2 responses

when it clicks: Orhan Pamuk is the author who taught me to identify with his narrator! (A lesson which has turned out to be really valuable in general as a way of reading.) This is exactly the story that he's telling about Galip's experience in The Black Book.

posted morning of the third: Respond
➳ More posts about Identification

Monday, January 29th

🦋 #tagyourself #itsme

...[A]ny Turk who passionately loves a masterpiece from the West which remains unread by his compatriots begins after a while to believe in all sincerity that not only does he love reading the book, but that he has written it himself.

--The Black Book

posted evening of January 29th: Respond

Sunday, January 28th

🦋 Galip / Jelal

I decided to make a second try at reading Pamuk's The Black Book. I'm reading Güneli Gün's translation this time. (Thanks for the recommendation go to Badger of the lamented Orbis Quintus and also to Michael McGaha.)

It's been a long enough time that I have forgotten the text and the story in all but the very broadest strokes, from time to time I am recognizing a passage. I ought to review my notes from last time. I remember finding it difficult to wade through, and am not having that experience now, which can probably be taken (broadly) as evidence in support of Gün's translation being a better one...

I've started trying to read the chapters which are written by Jelal* as if I were in Galip's head, in the course of the story -- I think that is the intent, when for example the narrator says,

Working in the taxi's top light, Galip marked Jelal's column all over with numbers, signs, and letters, but he still didn't get anywhere.
The idea is that the reader should carry this image and others like it into reading the next chapter, which will be a column of Jelal's (viz. "The Kiss"). Is this asking much of the reader? I don't think I noticed this pattern last time I read the book.

Don't quite understand Galip's thinking that Jelal's columns (which he knows are reprints of old columns) would contain a clue abut Rüya's present whereabouts. (If I'm understanding right that that's why he's poring over the column and marking it up.)

In the middle of reading the previous Jelal column ("The Eye", which I think is one of the columns Galip had borrowed out of his cousin's collection of clips), I had the thought that the older relative (forget now which) who in a previous chapter criticized Jelal's columns as too long had a real point, that that could have been edited pretty brutally without losing much of value.

* Prefer this spelling, which Gün is using, to Celâl; Freely's rendering while accurate made me double-take "selal/jelal" every time I ran across it.

posted morning of January 28th: 1 response

Monday, January 15th

🦋 las alturas de Machu Picchu

¡Subiré a nacer contigo, herman@ poeta!

posted afternoon of January 15th: Respond
➳ More posts about Pablo Neruda

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