Gabriele Brandstetter's Poetics Of Dance

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The story of the Shirabyoshi Gabriele Brandstetter begins her book “Poetics of Dance” with a summary of cultural anthropologist Lafcadio Hearn’s novella “The Geisha.” Examining Brandstetter’s summary and how it isolates certain sections of Lafcadio’s original narrative will allow us in turn to conveniently summarize certain aspects of Brandstetter’s project. Hearn’s piece begins with a lengthy description of a typical Japanese banquet held in a “banqueting-house … usually secluded from the street by spacious gardens” where the ritual silence remains undisturbed by “maidens whose bare feet make no sound” as they lay the lacquered services before the “robed guests” The master of ceremonies utters the “consecrated formula” and the guests start eating and drinking. Hearn points out that “hashi, deftly used, cannot be heard at all [and] the maidens pour warm sake…show more content…
The Occidental painter renders minute detail; he satisfies the imagination he evokes. But his Oriental brother either suppresses or idealises detail--steeps his distances in mist, bands his landscapes with cloud, makes of his experience a memory in which only the strange and the beautiful survive, with their sensations. He surpasses imagination, excites it, leaves it hungry with the hunger of charm perceived in glimpses only. Nevertheless, in such glimpses he is able to convey the feeling of a time, the character of a place, after a fashion that seems magical. He is a painter of recollections and of sensations rather than of clear-cut realities; and in this lies the secret of his amazing power--a power not to be appreciated by those who have never witnessed the scenes of his inspiration. He is above all things impersonal. His human figures are devoid of all individuality; yet they have inimitable merit as
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