The Past?

Do you realize that the past, starting from yesterday, has been actually abolished? If it survives anywhere, it’s in a few solid objects with no words attached to them, like that lump of glass there.

Already we know almost literally nothing about the Revolution and the years before the Revolution. Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.

George Orwell, 1984

<Giordano Bruno from 'The Heroic Enthusiasts …'

The dog of madness must be the mad god himself; transform these dogs into gods. In heroic frenzy, the great hunter sees, and he himself becomes the prey. Actaeon, who with these thoughts, searched for wisdom, beauty, and the wild beasts outside himself, attained them this way: once he was in their presence, ravished outside of himself by so much beauty, he became the prey of his own thoughts and saw himself converted into the thing he was pursuing. Predator of the marvellous, searching for wisdom, beauty, the wild beast.

Dionysian ffrenzy
Actaeon sculpture Caserta

Myths re-imagined in the tale of The Fugitive Stag

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Bought my first copy in the Summer of 1974 … my first summer with Ann. I was working at Alcan, Rogerstone, at the time – my last ‘student-summer-job.’ The translation was by R J Hollingdale. After MUCH USE, the paperback is just about in one piece! This morning, my 46 years old copy will be replaced by Graham Parkes 2005 … for reading, at least, since the original is full of notes, pasted comments etc.

Zarathustra by the Sea, 2004, Setsuko Aihara
TSZ cover based on Setsuko Aihara’s
Portrait of Helen Parkes (after Dürer) 2007
Albrecht Durer self-portrait 1500 – he was 28, the first artist to paint self portraits

Parkes’s translation is also well presented and arranged. Some might object to the cover illustration, which gives an image of Zarathustra, but very much like an image of Jesus. Based on an original portrait of Setsuko Aihara, who in turn based it on Durer’s original  self portrait of 1500, it shows the figure of Zarathustra with his customary allegorical symbols of staff, serpent, sea and eagle. The resemblance to Christ would seem to be fitting to represent an author, who so very much aimed to imitate and creatively to surpass the originator of Christianity.

Graham Parkes (b.1949) and ‘Zarathustra’

Graham Parkes is Professorial Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Vienna, Austria. For over thirty years he has taught environmental philosophies and Asian and comparative thought at UC Santa Cruz, the University of Hawaii, and universities in China, Japan, and Europe.