Sunday, December 21, 2008

Magic Words and Symbolist Poetry

Aleksandr Blok likens the folk sorcerers of Russia to poets of the Symbolist movement. He explains that both types of wordsmiths "know the word, the essence of things, and know how to turn these things to harm or to good; therefore an inaccessible line separates them from the ordinary people." Like the language of Symbolist poetry, folk magic lingo seeks "to destroy that old self-satisfied, reasonable mode of daily life," to crumble the fossils of yesteryear. "Blok asserted that the magic word can carry those who believe in it beyond the limits of ordinary reality, to other unknown realities." —Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture, (1997)

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