Sunday, December 16, 2012

Farmacia Del Sentimento

Sort of Interesting I guess. The Hotel in Palermo where Raymond Roussel was found dead, the Grande Albergo e delle Palme was owned at one time by a fellow named Enrico Ragusa. What's odd is this poem from a book called Farmacia Del Sentimento.. It was been variously stated that Roussel had developed a morphine addiction, and in the history of the hotel there is the notable event of a possible 'Heroin Summit' by members of the American and European Mafia in 1957.
The other notable oddity is that Enrico Ragusa was a Hotelier / Entomologist! What I do not know is if this poem is actually by that person. The Enrico Ragusa Hotelier died in 1924. There is also an actor of the 1970's named Enrico Ragusa, but the publication date of this book is 1934, which puts it between both of these folks in a big way, unless the text was published posthumously just some months after the death of Roussel in July of 1933. I just thought it was rather evocative. I would love to work one of these Enrico Ragusas into a story somehow but I cannot find anything at all about them, or him, really except this poem and picture of a book cover on the website of an eccentric Italian psychoanalyst, and one other book on Google books which has no preview. One interesting detail of slight Rousselian interest is the fact that according to Italian Wikipedia, Wagner completed his Opera Parsifal there.. And there is this:

Wagner preferred to describe Parsifal not as an opera, but as "ein Bühnenweihfestspiel" - "A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage". At Bayreuth a tradition has arisen that there is no applause after the first act of the opera. Wagner's spelling of Parsifal instead of the Parzival he had used up to 1877 is informed by an erroneous etymology of the name Percival deriving it from a supposedly Arabic origin, Fal Parsi meaning "pure fool".

Foul Parsing? Roussel's How I Wrote Certain of My Books was released on April 1st of the following year.

Follow-UP: It turns out that Enrico Ragusa was possibly one of the more conservative branch of Futurists that glommed onto Federico De Maria in Palermo. These Futurists it seems had a slightly more modified understanding of the revelation of technology, and FDM himself was something of a classicist before he became a Futurist. I guess Enrico Ragusa was a pretty common name in Sicily as there is a town or province named Ragusa there, which I guess is somehow related to the Ragusan Republic. Here is what wikipedia says: 

The Latin, Italian and Dalmatian name Ragusa derives its name from Lausa (from the Greek ξαυ: xau, "precipice"); it was later altered in Rausium (Appendini says that until after AD 1100, the sea passed over the site of modern Ragusa, if so, it could only have been over the Placa or Stradun) or Rausia (even Lavusa, Labusa, Raugia and Rachusa) and finally into Ragusa. The official change of name came into effect when so ordered by the Yugoslav government after the Second World War. The name Ragusa was to be changed as it was Italian or at least looked like it. However, the name Ragusa comes directly from the Illyrian tongue and was in use back to that period of regional history.

Elogio della idiozia di Enrico Ragusa

Io son contento
Che sembro idiota:
floscia la gota,
la bocca smorta,
gli occhi di pesce,
sembrare scemo
non mi rincresce
ed anzi spesso
in me s’avvera
questa preghiera
d’un uomo fesso:
O idiozia
grande e potente
dolce poesia
del non far niente
tu sola sei
proprio colei
che in me vorrei.
è una scemenza
che s’affatica
a superarsi
che indaga il male
che scevra il bene
che tenta Iddio
e che so io
che tutto vuole
e sfida eterna
l’eterna lotta
senza vittoria.
Ed ha la presunzione
di creare nella vita
una missione.
O idiozia
solo tu
sposa mia
fai virtù.
Guardare le mosche
con dolce sorriso
contare i fiorami
sulle pareti
e passeggiare
tutto guardare
senza sapere
nulla di nulla
vita citrulla
Ma quando s’agita in me il tormento
d’un sentimento,
o pur dibattersi tra spirito e cuore
flusso d’amore
strazio d’idea
e un turbinio
di fantasia
s’accende e sale
ecco che balza
bella e infinita
viva creatura
la stessa vita
e dalle forme
stupide e vane
si rinnovella
e si riabbella
la sciocca vita
in supervita
traendo all’imo
forte e severo
un ragionante
grande pensiero
che avvampa
e illumina
che scuote
e muove
le fibre nuove
d’una dolcezza
che infonde scienza
d’una bellezza
che è sofferenza.
Per non sentire
tutta l’ardenza
meglio dormire
con la scemenza
meglio tornare
e farsi culla
da infantisia
senza vedere
senza sapere
nulla di nulla
vita citrulla

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