The Spell, by William Fettes Douglas, 1864. © National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland, The Bridgeman Art Library.
Volume V, Number 3 | summer 2012
At the end of The Tempest, Prospero relinquishes his “rough magic” and declares, “I’ll break my staff,/Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,/And deeper than did ever plummet sound/I’ll drown my book.” In W.H. Auden’s “commentary” on the play, The Sea and the Mirror, Prospero says at the beginning, “Now, Ariel, I am that I am, your late and lonely master,/Who knows now what magic is:—the power to enchant/That comes from disillusion. What the books teach one/Is that desires end up in stinking ponds.”
The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts.—Italo Calvino, 1967