Friday, March 18, 2005

Frau von Taussig

From Joseph Roth's The Radetzky March: *

But age grew nearer with cruel and silent tread, and oftentimes in treacherous disguise. She counted the days that ran past her, and each morning the delicate wrinkles-- the hair-fine mesh that old age spun overnight round her innocently sleeping eyes. All the while her heart remained the heart of a sixteen-year-old girl. Blessed with everlasting youth, it dwelt within an ageing body, a beautiful secret in a crumbling castle. Every young man whom Frau von Taussig received in her arms was the long-awaited guest. To her chagrin, he didn't go in beyond the antechamber. She didn't live; all she did was wait! One after the other, she watched them go, with troubled, dissatisfied, embittered expressions. Gradually, she got used to seeing men come and go, the race of infantile giants, like foolish oversized insects, at once fleeting and ponderous; an army of crass idiots who tried to flap their leaden wings; warriors who imagined themselves victorious when they were held in contempt, possessors when they were laughed at , gourmets when they had barely had a taste; a horde of barbarians that you nevertheless spent all your time waiting for. Maybe, maybe, one individual might just arise out of the confused and undistinguished mass of them, light and shining, a prince with blessed hands. But he didn't come! You waited, and he didn't come! You were growing old, and he didn't come! Frau von Taussig set up barriers of young men like dams against encroaching age. Afraid of her own illusionless vision, she walked into every one of her so-called adventures with eyes tightly shut. And with her own needs, she transfigured the foolish men for her use. Unfortunately, they failed to notice. And they were not in the least transfigured.

*translated by Michael Hoffman, 2002. Granta Publications.


At 2:44 PM, Blogger svm said...

this comparison of men to bugs clarifies my fear of the former! thank you pseudo-shrink frau von taussig!


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