Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the macabre 1868 French language work The Songs of Maldoror.
I SOUGHT A SOUL THAT MIGHT RESEMBLE MINE
I’m not bothering with a detailed look at Maldoror 2:12 because it was a fairly run of the mill (for Ducasse) look at the hopelessly groveling nature of prayers to a deity. He has just one point to make – that prayers are basically butt-kissing disguised as devotion – and makes it over and over again.
I’ll pick up with Maldoror 2:13, which – for cross-referencing purposes – I’m titling I Sought a Soul That Might Resemble Mine. This stanza begins with our supernatural main character lamenting his lonely uniqueness and longing to find someone like himself.
In the morning an enchanted young man approaches him in his wanderings, a young man so beautiful that flowers spring up in the boy’s wake. The youth makes friendly overtures to the vile Maldoror, who viciously rejects him.
In the evening a beautiful woman approaches him and offers him all her love but our protagonist tells the woman he senses goodness and justice in her heart. Maldoror rejects her, too, telling her “Wolves and lambs do not look upon one another with friendly eyes.”
At length the wandering Maldoror stands upon a high rock overlooking the sea. A storm disrupts the night, blowing our main character’s cloak about him as he takes in the sight of a ship at sea being battered by the storm.
Using his telescopic vision Maldoror takes in every detail of the crew’s futile struggle to save their craft. As the ship slowly sinks the malevolent madman relishes the desperate cries, prayers and struggles of the dying victims. His sadistic nature especially revels in the futility of those who pitifully think they can hold their breath long enough to resurface as they get pulled beneath the waves in the wake of the sinking ship.
One lone teenager manages to swim away from the sinking hulk but Maldoror has decided all the ship’s crew will die this night and shoots the survivor in the head, killing him. Next a sextet of male sharks arrives to feed on the corpses and our vile narrator enjoys this spectacle as well.
A female shark arrives on the scene and starts fighting the males for some of the fresh chum. She furiously kills three of the males, prompting Maldoror to joyously praise her murderous savagery. At last he feels he has found a soul that resembles his own and helps the female shark he has fallen in love with by shooting dead one of the three remaining sharks she is battling.
Maldoror dives into the storm-wracked sea and swims to the aid of his lady love. He grapples with one of the two remaining sharks and slays it, just as the object of his affection succeeds in finishing off their last opponent.
Our protagonist and the she-shark circle each other under the water for a time, two born killers impressed and aroused at meeting their own equal. They proceed to make passionate love beneath the waves and Ducasse describes their coupling in fairly nauseating detail.
Basking in the afterglow Maldoror feels his loneliness fading away and happily reflects on the fact that he has met his first true love. +++
I WILL RESUME THIS LOOK AT THE SONGS OF MALDOROR SOON. CHECK BACK ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK FOR NEW INSTALLMENTS.
FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2015/02/28/maldoror-a-neglected-masterpiece-of-surreal-horror/
FOR OTHER PARTS OF MALDOROR CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/category/maldoror/
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