Journey to the room, hymn to the imagination

Michalis ModinosRoom trip – something like a chamber orchestra? Long before the coronavirus and its limitations, wandering in small familiar spaces was a way out for many restless spirits. Where to run now in wet jungles and sunless gorges, to cross turbulent seas and cross arid deserts, to sleep in mattresses full of ticks and fleas, to be robbed by uncivilized innkeepers and threatened by hordes of wild beasts and beasts. cost of traveling on the back of mules to cross the Alps or roads to reach the coveted oasis. You had to spend a fortune to organize a tour and, despite the fact that the rewards were many and the glory awaited you upon returning home, you had to put in the palange costs and possible benefits. As a rule, of course, you wrote a volume of travel impressions – or perhaps many and decisive ones, as the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt did a few years after De Maestro. You may be lecturing on the sources of the Nile and the altitudes of flora in Venezuela in front of a large audience, especially if there were demanding sponsors behind your mission, such as the Royal Geographical Society or the Berlin Academy of Sciences. But already at the end of the Enlightenment century the great discoveries tended to be completed, the gaps in the world map were quickly filled and soon the traveler would become a mere tourist. Safer and closer destinations offered leisure and a change of scenery – although the hassle and expense did not lag behind. Xavier de Maistre (1763-1852), a child of the Enlightenment, although a counter-revolutionary – like his famous political analyst brother Joseph – was forced to stay in 1790 for 42 days in his rather spacious room in Turin, after a illegal duel. He would turn this stay into an adventure, discovering in the ordinary everyday things, which until then had given them little importance, unexpected pleasures. His diary entries, in the form of 42 short chapters, would be published in a book by his brother in 1794, and the expression “trip to my room” would have remained in the literary vocabulary ever since. Not at all unjustly. This is an intelligent, sarcastic reversal of the prevailing standards of the adventurous nature of travel, the heroic nature of travelers, etc. until then (but also to this day). etc. The tone is ironic and deconstructive of current assumptions from the very first sentence. He expresses satisfaction with his incarceration while he himself evaluates the remarks he made, calling them interesting. The only thing one needs to make a trip is “a small corner where one can retreat and hide from the world”. In fact, de Maistre goes so far as to consider certain that any frugal person should adopt his system. The main reason of course is that such a trip does not cost anything. Also that it does not arouse jealousy and competition. It does not threaten new diseases and can cure some old ones. Apart from the security it provides. So de Maestro proceeds to the great exhortation: “So take courage, we are leaving. Follow me, all of you who the death of love, the indifference to friendship, keep you in your apartment, away from the smallness and betrayal of people. Let all the unfortunate, the sick and the bored of the Universe follow me, let all the lazy ones rise. ‚ÄĚPleasures withinAnd the imagination is released at the same time with the sarcasm towards those who giggle because they visited Rome or Paris. And what one can not enjoy in his room. The fire that burns, his dog that will never betray him, a simple but enjoyable meal. He can re-evaluate the graces of his comfortable armchair, reflect on the moments of happiness that the bed offers on a case-by-case basis, on the occasion it is even suggested to the reader that the bed linen be necessarily in shades of pink and white – something that in the author’s case recalls a climb to the slopes of the Alps and the rose cheeks of his beloved, the most beautiful woman in Turin, as he calls her. Slippers and neat pajamas can offer serene moments, his pillows wisely reminiscent of old adolescent dreams of adventure and glory or evoke a desire for power and dominance, let go of the attraction you wish to exercise in oh The most important source of reading pleasure in the book is, however, the postures made by De Maestre during the long journey from the armchair to the bed, in front of the paintings and the engravings that adorn the adjacent wall. A pure shepherd on the slopes of the Alps will arouse his desire for a simple life, away from the hustle and bustle of the city and culture, in the arms and care of his beloved. Only war rages down in the valleys and revolutionary forces, just one year after the French Revolution, threaten the legitimate defenders of the Old Regime – so the author feels the need and duty to protect his shepherdess. In front of a copy of a portrait of Raphael’s mistress, Fornarina, we have perhaps the most interesting pages of the book. The lady in question is said to have destroyed the great Renaissance painter through her infidelities but also her ability to maintain a destructive erotic desire on his part that led to his death. Various theories have been formulated over the centuries about this story by writers and philosophers – most recently, even the working hypothesis that only 37-year-old Raphael died of something like the coronavirus, as his body was weakened by the vigilance in the arms of his beloved. De Maestro contemplates on Fornarina’s copy and accuses her of not leaving the painter alone to complete his next masterpiece. However, better observing the curves and left to the charm of the woman, he feels the animal stirring inside him and dominating the intellect and logic – he calls her “soul” programmatically. He understands the unfortunate Raphael, he fully understands him. He has stated from the beginning his philosophical view where the animal within us is completely opposed to the soul and this struggle pervades the whole book. As he meditates and meditates on the benefits of retiring from public space, his mind and steps travel unchecked to the private apartments of a lady de Ocastel,’s supposedly ex-mistress, who deals exclusively with her mirrors and appearance. The animal (the other, as it is alternatively called) has again conquered the soul. The worst; He is rather certain that all the beauties of the city, who perhaps turned their gaze to its passage, were to the animal to which they were addressed, not to its spirit. Beggars and Servants There are reflections on his dead father and social approaches to poverty in Turin at the time, with homeless and huddled children touring the fences of luxurious palaces where dances and dinners are given. The rich give little importance to these unfortunates when, watered with champagne, all laughter and joy call their carriage to return home. However, there are also modest, philanthropic citizens who, without announcing it anywhere, wake up early to strengthen and alleviate the unfortunates of life. On one occasion he became angry with himself for recklessly behaving rudely to a beggar who had reached his doorstep. And in another chapter he comes in the place of his faithful servant for the wages he owes him. Despite his social sensitivities, however, de Maestro is negative about the Revolution and does not miss an opportunity to show it. It makes sense – after all, the family is pro-royal and Joseph’s brother will have an excellent career as a conservative political philosopher. Elsewhere, however, is the power of the book: the modesty offered to the reader and the awakening of the senses to derive all possible joys from the simple everyday things we are accustomed to ignoring – when we do not despise them. Still, in receptivity, which is proposed as the basic utensil for any trip. And indeed, how many could claim to have gained something from their travel experiences, in our class, for example, especially in the years of artificial prosperity before bankruptcy, when there was not a corner of the Earth left that was not literally trampled by a herd of Greeks ; How many of them got something? And how many have relativized the position of our country as the navel of the Earth? Let us not find the immediate surroundings boring, de Maestro tells us. In addition, let us leave it to the inductive method. The whole Universe can be reconstructed from a handful of sand. A well-baked toast and the aroma of coffee can stimulate a variety of senses, while the noblest thoughts can arise from past experiences and insights. Let go of the Formarina, every Formarina, which may have led Raphael to death, but may give birth to myriad conclusions about the duality of matter and spirit, about the unfaithful female nature or about the benefits of dreams – which, brother, The book was suggested to me by the good young native author Maria Didachou (whom I thank for that), probably as an ironic antithesis of my own epic travel narratives. Of course, some French version of it had passed through my hands in my very young years, but obviously I was not yet able to appreciate it. In any case, de Maestro himself was quite a traveler, so he may have been able to re-evaluate the special joys of his room and her boring everyday life for others. The breadth and the depth, the “self” and the “other” converse equally, and that is the great gain. A blessing belongs to the Thouli publications that brought back the book in Greek, which was released in 1983 by Ekremes, but is considered exhausted. The translation by Manolis Stratakis fully respects the original. Xavier de Maistr Travel in my roomMtf. Manolis StratakisEd. Thouli, p. 116Follow it on Google News and be the first to know all the news See all the latest News from Greece and the World, at

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