Wednesday, February 11, 2009

pandora's box

"[she] had an undefined conviction that to serve for another person than their proprietor traditions must be of a thoroughly superior kind; but she nevertheless assented to this intimation that she too must march to the stately music that floated down from unknown periods in her husband's past; she who of old had been so free of step, so desultory, so devious, so much the reverse of processional.

there were certain things they must do, a certain posture they must take, certain people they must know and not know. when she saw this rigid system close about her, draped though it was in pictured tapestries, that sense of darkness and suffocation of which i have spoken took possession of her; she seemed shut up with an odour of mould and decay.

she had resisted of course; at first very humourously, ironically, tenderly; then, as the situation grew more serious, eagerly, passionately, pleadingly. she had pleaded the cause of freedom, of doing as they chose, of not caring for the aspect and denomination of their life - the cause of other instincts and longings, of quite another ideal."
text from pages 480-481 of portrait of a lady by henry james.
movie stills from die b├╝chse der pandora [1929]