Saturday, November 5, 2011

MM Part 5 : Humaniora

Edouard Manet. Déjeuner sur l'herbe.
Still October

1. Bildung

Behrens interrupts on the cousins who are brooding in silence on a bench in a garden of the Sanatorium. HC is silently rebelling against the attitude of Joachim who drags him away of the company of others.

Behrens opens the conversation with a peculiar opening phrase: “ Behold Timothy” which alludes to a paedagogue – pupil relationship. Behrens too is a pedagogue.

Some knowledge of cigars is exchanged with a lot of allusions to woman, love and sex.
Then HC asks Behrens about “painting”. The knowledge of a painting of Clawdia has gnawed at him the last weeks.
“Anch’io sono pittore”, Italian not Spanish (but Behrens probably knows that) meaning, “I am a painter too”, famous words of the ambitious but still unknown young Corregio when he sees the painting of Saint Cicilia by the great Raphael.

A pleased and nervous Behrens agrees to show some paintings and invites the cousins to his house.

Paintings of a diaphanous wife in an angelic pose.
Fraternity cap with duelling swords
Portrait of Clawdia “Why I know that face don’t I”. – “Do you recognize her ?”One cannot be smile at the cunning little bandit.
Behrens had her in his room for 20 sessions !

Behrens about Clawdia’s eyes “the epicanthic fold turns out to be an atavistic abnormality”
Hans touches the crude nakedness of her décolleté - on the painting that is –

The analytical rambling over Clawdia’s skin excites poor Hans. There is something perverse in the two men discussing the details of Clawdia’s body.

“ You are wondering ,…, why I am speaking about all this…” The impromptu babblings of our amateur philosopher make indeed no sense.

Hans trailing the painting with him is hilarious!

Woman are made of fat, not ambrosia !

They relax in an oriental corner in the living room of Behrens apartment. Coffee, cigar, what’s next ? Belly dancers ? Nearly, here is Behrens speaking about “The fat is thickest around the female breast and abdomen, the upper thighs…everywhere you find a little something of interest for your hand and heart. And of course “… the soles of her feet…”

Some pornographic ornaments liven up the cylindrical (phallic shaped ?) coffee mill which was offered by an obscene ( ah the orient !) Egyptian Princess.

Hans is not bothered? Remember how he reacted to the Russian couple only three months earlier ?

Unusually large cigarettes for tip top occasions. Are they smoking pot now?

Hans rambles on : engineer – docter – clergyman 

Behrens continues with an explanation of how an erection exactly functions continuing over the orgasm and the post coital “petite mort” ( all in secret language of course) : “…why the cock’s comb actually swells… “ … you are all swollen with blood till you can hardly see a thing…” until “…make you look like a corpse…with the heart thumping right along…”

Encouraged by Hans, Behrens paints a broad picture of the body in life and death in all chemical and biological details. Behrens too is a pedagogue lets not forget it. He opens the door for a scientific understanding of what life and love, death and decomposition is all about…

Then suddenly, an attack of mysterious melancholia halts Behrens in his enthusiastic exposé.
Hans and Joachim thank the doctor and hurry back to their rooms

Has the Doctor had an attack of some kind of depression ?

2. Geography

The coffee corner in Behrens room is an oriental feast; Turkish , Indian , Persian etc etc

3. Notes 

See symbolism of the cigar : a woman ( brunette – she likes you to leave her ash long – she has her little moods – she has good breeding ) a penis ( tiny pores here and there – the veins that seemed almost to throb - irregularities of skin ) – a living being (she died , she grew sickly and died , nothing left but leathery corpses ) – sex ( pop my cork – have a girl for the first time – melt together in euphoria )

Phideas: Great Classical sculptor, the other one Polykleitos ? Jewish – sounding name ?