Saturday, June 23, 2012

on first glance...

...the young housekeeper Adela in Bruno Schulz's The Street of Crocodiles appears to have that sober, practical view of life one might associate with the Prussian attitude or with the general weary laboring class. As she encounters and tries to put down the bizarre schemes and antics of the head of the house, one could imagine her saying, with hands on hips: "Enough with your eccentricities!"

But I'm not so sure.

The more I ponder it -- and ponder it I certainly must -- I come to think she has an oblique aspect herself, a dream-depth. I can thus almost hear her next phrase: "After you're dead, there will be plenty of time for such nonsense and wild imaginings."

As if some character from One Hundred Years of Solitude. Sometimes they accommodate ghosts, sometimes they lose patience. But the existence of spirits goes without much saying. So Adela, I submit, will sometimes pamper, sometimes scold the strange father of the house as he obsesses over his aviary or hides himself on the top of a wardrobe. Yet Adela retains a measure of unconscious sympathy for such regions of great heresy, acknowledges it implicitly. The shadow side of things -- the irrational -- is suspected and winked at, and is as nearly tangible for her as a Macondo apparition.

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