The artistic range of "Dancing Snake"

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Ketevan Elashvili


The artistic range of a literary work is mainly crossed by the symbolic spectrum. It is due to the universal essence of the symbol that the boundary between the authors of completely different epochs or cultures disappears and a kind of character tandem is created. A vivid illustration of this is the unforgettable dance of the snake in the artistic thinking of Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) and Anna Kalandadze (1924-2008).

The snake is perceived as a mystical zoomorphic symbol in heterogeneous aspects and therefore - creates a different artistic range. The "biblical biography" of the snake traverses the eternal footpath of evil or goodness and therefore captures the creative imagination.

The "dancing snake" with Charles Baudelaire is Jeanne DuVall's double, an unusual literary symbol with mystical eroticism. As a precondition for all this, we can consider Baudelaire's fateful affair with Jeanne Duvall.

Thus arose in "Flowers of Evil" a "dancing snake" paired with the author's muse, which accurately expresses the unusualness of Baudelaire's creative vision; Baude­laire, like no one else, could see a grain of goodness tainted with iniquity, possess a sense of beauty in extreme ugliness. All this ambiguity of feelings is best expressed in the symbolism of the serpent.

With Ana Kalandadze, "Snake Dance" creates a completely different artistic range. Probably this is why the author (1946) originally published the snake dance without a title and only later - in the 2004 edition it was called "The Serpent Prays". It is conceivable that the length of the years revealed the mystery of prayer in the ritual dance, which somehow created the independent symbolic link - the infinity of mysteries.

These literary illustrations outline the snake’s universal range in artistic thinking and creates some kind of esoteric labyrinth.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Individual Sessions: Words and Images Crossing Literary and Critical Borders