More Quotes from Herr C.

In yesterday's post about Heinrich von Kleist's On the Marionette Theatre I didn't get to include my favourite quotes from the essay, especially from the character of Herr C., who I find fascinating. So here they are.

'But viewed in another way, this line is something very mysterious. For it is nothing other than the path to the soul of the dancer, and Herr C. doubted that it could be proven otherwise that through this line the puppeteer placed himself in the center of gravity of the marionette; that is to say, in other words, that the puppeteer danced.'

'The movement of his fingers has a somewhat artificial relationship to those of the attached puppets, somewhat like the relationship of numbers to logarithms or the asymptote to the hyperbola.'

'Affectation appears, as you know, when the soul (vis motrix) locates itself at any point other than the center of gravity of the movement. Because the puppeteer absolutely controls the wire or string, he controls and has power over no other point than this one: therefore all the other limbs are what they should be dead, pure pendulums following the simple law of gravity, an outstanding quality'

'When he dances Paris and stands among the three goddesses and hands the apple to Venus, his soul is located precisely in his elbow, and it is a frightful thing to behold.'

'And Paradise is bolted, with the cherub behind us; we must journey around the world and determine if perhaps at the end somewhere there is an opening to be discovered again.'

'I laughed. Indeed, I thought, the spirit cannot err where it does not exist'

'Without a doubt I would have struck the chest of a man. The bear made a slight movement of his paw and parried the blow.'

'Eye to eye, as if he could see into my very soul, he stood there, his paw raised ready for combat'

'Just as the intersection of two lines from the same side of a point after passing through the infinite suddenly finds itself again on the other side-or as the image from a concave mirror, after having gone off into the infinite, suddenly appears before us again-so grace returns after knowledge has gone through the world of the infinite, in that it appears to best advantage in that human bodily structure that has no consciousness at all-or has infinite consciousness-that is, in the mechanical puppet, or in the God.

Therefore, I replied, somewhat at loose ends, we would have to eat again of the tree of knowledge to fall back again into a state of innocence?

Most certainly, he replied: That is the last chapter of the history of the world.'