Visions Pt. 4: The Chap

What the Gyan Books chap amounts to is a semi-dialectic— Elegies, Odes, Elegies— that, without a synthesis, leaves questions in the air difficult to handle. In terms of alignments, when we align the Elegies with phenomenology— inside the mind/outside the mind dichotomies, played out in or with the dramatic intensity of a Protagonist’s revelations of Otherness— and then align the Odes with transcendentalism— Keats’ configuring a play of archetypes in his consciousness, which grants him access to an ability to create and maintain a certain kind of poetic music— as a thesis and an antithesis, uncompleted, in the chap, by a synthesis (not to mention the humanism of the Elegies offset by the formalism of the Odes), the difficulty of making them relate is the sense that what they share is less substantial than what differentiates them. The freezing of moments into immortality— pairs of lovers— stillness or quietness or a “hushed” quality— the pastoral and the suburban— rigorous music with rigorous narrative-thematic elements— visions and the visionary— all these constituent factors which bind the Elegies and the Odes together still, in the context of the Gyan chap, have a way of configuring a kind of textual jigsaw puzzle, where pieces must be connected slowly and with care. One facile interpretation— that the Odes constitute an intermission or intermezzo period against the bleak, hard darkness of the Elegies— has to fail and fall if we grant the Elegies and Odes commensurate power.

When Drama is aligned with phenomenology and Music with transcendentalism, and both are given equal representation in a gestalt unit like the Gyan chap, the reader response effect (to paraphrase Wolfgang Iser) must be a varying one, and, if the puzzle pieces can never settle into easy interlocking patterns, it is a challenge to the individuality of the reader to discover if the thesis and the antithesis can be made to synthesize. The challenge is a call to define an individual’s sensibility, both towards Drama and Music; the down in the dirt phenomenological challenge of Otherness with the transcendental lunge towards the higher, abstract, mathematical realities of the most exquisite forms of musicality. The sense of the Gyan chap as a kind of test or divining for different synthesis notions in different readers takes the chap out of the realm of standard and standardized textuality and into a realm in itself both phenomenological and transcendental.