Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The immortal world of marionettes and dolls

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The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright

I do not fear, for my part, to formulate my creed. I believe in the immortal world of marionettes and dolls. Doubtless there is nothing human in the way of flesh in these little beings of wood or cardboard; but there is in them something of the divine, however little it may be. They do not live like ourselves, and yet they do live. They live as do the immortal gods…

Certainly dolls and marionettes are very little gods, but they are gods none the less: they resemble the smaller idols of antiquity. They resemble even more the figures by which the savage clumsily assayed to portray the invisible. And what are they like, if not like idols, since they are idols themselves? Their function is an absolutely religious one. They bring to little children the only vision of the divine which is intelligible to them. They represent all the religion accessible to the most tender age. They are the cause of our first dream. They inspire our first fears and hopes. Pierrot and Polichinelle contain as much divine anthropomorphism as can be comprehended by brains scarcely formed, although already terribly active. They are the Hermes and the Zeus of our little children. And every doll is still a Persephone, a Kore, to our little girls.

I should like these words to be taken in their most literal sense.

Anatole France, La Vie Litteraire

Written by nevalalee

December 25, 2015 at 7:30 am

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