Reading Goethe’s translated Faust again. A rhyming drama published in 1808. Let’s see, would a play and/or film today be produced if it were a rhyming work? I doubt it.
In addition, Goethe starts his play in heaven with the “Lord” having a part, but it’s minor. The real play happens in magical ways that can only be seen in today’s fantasies and horror stories. Shapeshifting, hallucinations, drugs, drunken revelry, you name it. Stuff happens that would not be permitted in most publications today for so many reasons I can’t begin to calculate.
And yet, I can read it. And become mesmerized by the way the academic and polymath, Dr. Faust, gets reeled in by the devil into making his pact based on his sensory “needs.” This is the message needed today: DON’T TRUST YOUR SENSORY NEEDS.
Goethe knew that once our human brain focuses and makes something (anything) in our grasp a “need” rather than simply one small part of a magnificent whole, then that’s when the troubles begin. In Faust’s case, you can read it for yourself. The deeper and more fixated you become with your senses, the deeper the depravity, the temptations, the sins, the lusts, and the tortures become.
Two examples of dudes who were tempted and came out unscathed: Jesus and the Buddha. Portrayed differently, with mostly no rhyming, but they saw the temptations and the tempter for what they were and got the “hell out of Dodge.”
P.S., Also, a “polymath” today wouldn’t be trusted unless he had a degree to prove it from every “recognized institution.” I have a good writer friend, Dr. Jacob Appel, who comes close, but he recommends my writing*, so maybe he won’t be recognized for long (just kidding, Jake). Jacob has been known to hang-out at Goodreads trying to sound like “one of the crowd.” Even then, today is the age of “specialization” and just lying about one’s credentials (I’m looking at you, Congressman Santos), so probably not.
*Award-winning short fiction author, Jacob M. Appel says, “With the publication of Valley of the Dogs, Jim Musgrave joins the ranks of George Saunders, Steven Millhauser, and Kevin Brockmeier at the heart of the modern American short story’s second great renaissance.”
In fact, when Jacob published his superb serial killer book The Mask of Sanity, he suggested I go on tour with him with my own novel, Russian Wolves. I told him my serial killer would probably kill his at the first full moon, and so we’d be stuck on the road together, probably for days, without his book. And, since he is the stand-in for his fictional psychiatrist and killer, I might be in grave (Musgrave) danger!
Well, keep on trucking, my loyal subscribers. We’re living through times you can tell your grand kids about some day.