November 14, 2011

Lost paradise: Doré, Toledano, Montgomery

Thinking about the political turmoils of this year in many Arab countries (Hosni Mubarak, Muamar Gadaffi, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali) and the economic crisis in Europe (George Papandreou, Silvio Berlusconi), I recalled Proust explaining us that "The only paradise is paradise lost".

This applies also to nasty politicians. Think of Gadaffi dying next to a pipe, by mad countrymen. Just Victor Hugo had imagined a mad Jabert trying to kill Jean Valjean in the sewer of Paris.

John Milton wrote at the end of the ninth book of Paradise Lost:
They sate them down to weep, nor onely Teares
Raind at thir Eyes, but high Winds worse within
Began to rise, high Passions, Anger, Hate,
Mistrust, Suspicion, Discord, and shook sore
Thir inward State of Mind, calm Region once
And full of Peace, now tost and turbulent–

 Gustave Doré, engraving of Milton's Paradise Lost (Book IX, 1121-1126)

Philip Toledano, piece from America: The Gift Shop (2008)

Robert Montgomery (Lyon, 2011)

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