Saturday, November 24, 2007

arias of madness

Cees Nooteboom writes, pp 200-1: "The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela is one of the arias of madness of European opera, a gigantic migratory flow, a movement of millions of extras, an unceasing stream of scallop-bearing pilgrims from all corners of Christendom, who found shelter and sustenance...on their way to the Pyrenees and beyond, until they reached the camino to Santiago. What that massive adventure signified in terms of religious zeal, political, social, economic and artistic influence is almost impossible to imagine. For centuries, a whole army was permanently on the move across Europe, where the foot was the unit of measurement. Everyone who joined...abandoned hearth and home to the vagaries of circumstance, the dream of every romantic soul, not in those uncertain times, but in later ones. Thus the pilgrimage became a myth in its own right, and the links between northwestern Spain and the European north continued to strengthen, the desire for reunification with the Arab-occupied parts of Spain deepened." from "Roads to Santiago", Harcourt, 1992 isbn 0156011581 Of this mad aria, we were drawn, became a part and cannot stop the dreaming - drawing bits of ghosts back to hearth and home.

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