Descent and Return: The Orphic
Theme in Modern Literature.
Keywords: Clement of Alexandria, Orphic
Myth, Knowledge of God.
This loss is perhaps suggested by Orphic
myth, through the poet's incapacity to bring back to this world a living Eurydice.
His poetry, she argues, is not meant to provide access to a higher plane of meaning (in an orphic
sense), but, rather, it is an exemplification of the powerful and endless mysteries enveloping human language.
was to convert the castrato into the supreme Orphic
voice of sensibility and pathos of operatic origins; another was to update and ratify his technical bravura" (p.
Halfyard traces the Orphic
elements of four pivotal episodes in particular: "Prophecy Girl" (1.12), "Anne" (3.1), "Once More With Feeling" (6.7), and "Normal Again" (6.17).
For the same reason the Lithica survived in obscurity for eight centuries until the time of the 12th-century Byzantine poet and grammarian John Tzetzes, who wrongly attributed it to the authorship of Orpheus on the grounds that it followed Orphic
poems bound in the same volume.
Jean Cocteau used the myth three times; Alfred Hitchcock made an Orphic
thriller with Vertigo.
Rather than Aristotelian faculty psychology's belief that plants had souls, Knight argues that Renaissance herbalists and writers, such as Lodge and Spenser (Shepheardes Calender) saw the mobility of trees (the Orphic
myth) as central.
Another significant connection between Whitman and Campana involves Enrico Nencioni, the 1880s Italian critic who helped circulate Whitman's poetry in Italy and who had argued that the American's poems were "veri canti orfici senza tradizione," "real, unprecedented orphic
songs." (14) Significantly, Campana entitled his 1914 book Orphic
In a press conference, Mendoni said that the scene in the mosaic, recounting the abduction of Persephone, is indeed "linked with the cults of the underworld, the Orphic
cult-descent into Hades and the Dionysian rites."
Following the orphic
destiny from silence (whisper) to word and song, he instilled the modern myth both with a cosmic energy, inspired by Expressionism, and with the mystery of a Celtic type of deliberate obscurity, deriving from folkloric archetype (cf.
In the Orphic
Mysteries, the journey constructed upon the pattern of descent and return is performed by the solar god Apollo, "since Orpheus is an Apollonian priest" (Wolf 144).