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  • Das liebende Subjekt und das geliebte Objekt lösen sich auf, in dem sie übereinstimmen. Auf diese Weise erschaffen sie eine Leere. The bird symbolizes the human soul, the exaltation of thought (cogitation) and imagination, the freedom from any earthly limitations, the catharsis of spiritualization.The loving subject and the beloved object dissolve by becoming one. In this way they create a void.

    Extracts from the eponymous novel by Villiers de l’Isle-Adam:

    From having poured over many a volume of Natural History, our illustrious friend Dr. Tribulat Bonhomet had finished by learning that ‘the swan emits a beautiful song in the moments before it dies’. In fact (as he admitted to us only recently), since he had first heard it, this music was the only one capable of helping him surmount the disappoinments of life. Every night, this swan kept its eyes wide open, a polished stone in its long beak.

    At the smallest sign of danger for those in its care, with a movement of his neck it would quickly toss the stone into the water, in the middle of the white circle of sleepers. At this signal, and guided by their sentinel, the flock would fly through the darkness under the deep alleyways of trees, toward some far-off lawn or fountain reflecting gray statues.

     


     

  • And so it was that the handsome swans, one after the other, disturbed in the depth of their slumbers by the sound, sinously stretched their heads beneath their pale silver wings - and, under the weight of Bonhomet’s shadow, little by little were filled with foreboding, with a confused awareness of the mortal danger that threatened them.

    But in their infinite delicacy, they suffered in silence, like the sentinel - unable to flee, since the stone had not been dropped! Then the souls of the expiring birds rose, unmindful of the present doctor, from their bodies toward the unknown Heavens, in a song of immortal hope, deliverance and love.