return of the marble faun?

The truly gruesome and the mystery of the act and the people who do it….. “no sin at all, but the best possible virtue in the circumstances ( Miriam in The Marble Faun )…”the wind has blown away whatever else they may have spoken.”…A compelling character that both attracts and repels. A wife of Bluebeard with a mysterious glow overshadowing a young brow. Was Amanda Knox like Miriam in Hawthorne’s The marble Faun, a woman stalked with a secret of her past? This dichotomy of character , at once the natural and wholesome liking nothing more than white picket fences and the other; ambiguous, unresolvable moral dilemmas beyond Judeo-Christian convention. Not likely, but you never know. Maybe its something about Rome, something in the air, musty and old that rises up from the catacombs when one least expects it.

A resonation in harmony with his own obsessions. In Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun, foreigners meet in Italy and their obsessions manifest themselves  as a perception of the inevitable contradictions and similarities  of  the sacred and profane, of the religious and the pagan,of church and state, the subtle and the absurd. The figure of Donatello is soon to become obscure and shadowy, in part because of his love interest in Miriam. He reaches a point where he is stuck with a new burden for the balance of his days. The sculptor Kenyon, has no fatal flaws but is far from pure; he desires Hilda, the antithesis of Miriam though is insecure in trying to achieve her love. Hilda is pure. And angelic. Also she is firmly religious of the New England Puritan variety which creates in her a sense of innocence, naive, and in need of guidance after witnessing Donatello and Miriam’s act…

Valentin de Boulogne.---Miriam, for her part, was inspired by an exotically beautiful Jewish woman Hawthorne met at a Lord Mayor's dinner party in London, a woman whose compelling charms both attracted and repelled the author. This episode was described in Hawthorne's Notebook, and again in censored form, in "Our Old Home." In Smith's opinion, this woman exemplified, for Hawthorne, a chain of signifiers: Venus-Cleopatra-Miriam, whose fixed point is the dangerous eroticism of an untouchable woman. Hawthorne writes: "Nearly opposite to me . . . sat a young lady in white, who I am sorely tempted to describe, but dare not." Skipping a line or two, one reads: "Let us turn away from her, lest a touch too apt should compel her stately, and cold, and soft, and womanly grace, to gleam out upon my page, with a strange repulsion and unattainableness in the very spell that made her so beautiful." Read More:

…. Donatello has lost perspective when smitten with Miriam, a blind falling in love with her.Maybe something of the death wish since Miriam has a less than stellar past, one that casts a long shadow. A central act in the novel occurs when  a stalker approaches her one evening, resulting  in Donatello attacking him,and subsequently knocking and pushing him him a chasm. A serious crime, the result oddly transforms him into a soul raising level of awakening; a self revelation after the fall from sin. Previously energetic, he is now melancholic, slow and depressed. Hilda, who was inadvertent witness to the crime also undergoes a darkening of the soul. Reality has its consequences and the four struggle and deal with the aftermath…

Almost all of the art mentioned in the Marble Faun, some thirty,  are about the nature of lost innocence, and the relationship between good and evil in all its complexities. Some of the imagery is quite violent: the idea of women acting in a vengeful manner on men, in thehead of Holofernes and John the Baptist. Also there is the Guido drawing of St. Michael overcoming Satan and nymphs such as in Panini’s portrait, Innocence Dying of a Bloodstain, which represents Hilda viewing Raphael’s painting of Joanna of Aragon.

---and the young naïf-primitive Donatello, an Italian count who serves at times as a tour guide to the three, seeks and wins the affections of Miriam, and defends her honor even to the point of murder. The central conflict is precipitated by Donatello’s murdering a malevolent Capuchin monk who stalks Miriam with a secret of her past, and the novel investigates the felix culpa theme as a crime and punishment psychological drama in which the naïve come to know evil.--- Painting Johann Liss. Read More:

The subjects of the art resulting in focused attention by Hawthorne all depict  illicit love, impotence, and castration. Castration legends, where the women are femme fatales, stripping men of masculinity and into an image of the marble faun who is a fertility god gone sterile and emotionally frozen, now merely a humorous anecdotal myth. Are the women, avengers or culprits? In either case, they are the Janus faced sides of some malevolent sorcery, perhaps a reflection of Hawthorne’s own fears, but also, in the case of Miriam going back into Jewish antiquity and trying to discern the primary within the fog of history and myth.

The crucial mystery of the Marble Faun is is related to Guido Reni’s painting of Beatrice Cenci, whom Hawthorne has both female figures resemble.  The narrative of this painting, revealed in Shelley’s play of 1819, offers similarities with Hawthorne’s work: An authoritarian, patriarchal and unjust society; a reflection of papal power in all spheres; cruel, cold, formal men,like marble. Machine like. Terrifying. Reni’s model was apparently thrown below the rocks, a horrible end, and in Shelley’s play the father was thrown into the chasm. Sacrificed. Like Meredith Kercher used as some kind of model in a perverse form of eternal recurrence where the “terrifying practices” are cyclically repeated. And the truth of what really happened?

Guido Reni.---The painting of Beatrice di Cenci by Mannerist painter Guido Reni (1575-1642) and the legend surrounding Beatrice figures prominently in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Marble Faun (1860). The book's two principal female characters, Hilda and Miriam, debate the nature and extent of Beatrice's guilt. Hilda believes Beatrice's act to be "inexpiable crime" but Miriam believes it was "no sin at all, but the best possible virtue in the circumstances". Hawthorne draws many similarities between Miriam and Beatrice and the reader must debate whether or not Miriam is an avenger or a culprit.--- Read More:

The benediction or blessing Donatello and Miriam receive is very peculiar. Particularly since it comes from a statue. Supposedly lifeless. The crime of Miriam dissolves, vaporizes and returns to a state where language breaks down and is unspeakable, forgotten. Erased from memory and not recallable. Like a spirit. A body snatcher. “The wind has blown away whatever else they may have spoken.”  This dialog is presented as being fragmented by a shearing, a tearing apart and scattering, all of which implies a comprehensive effort at obliteration., uniting Miriam and the Model as being complicit in a suppressed act, an act contrary to nature?  A fatal entanglement?… “For I would forbear to speak another name, at which these leaves would shiver above our heads,” … “In this man’s memory, there was something that made it awful for him to think of prayer,” … “The threads are twisted into a strong cord, which is dragging us to an evil doom.”  Was Merdith forced to kneel before her tyrant, and perhaps witnesses?

Ian Leslie:Amanda Knox's face proved to be her misfortune. It was pretty enough to incite the fantasies of Italian cops and tabloid editors, and just expressive enough to provide a richly textured canvas for a public all too willing to pronounce on the soul it con

ed. Read More:

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from the above link. Sounds farfetched. But, authorities never found out about Michael Sidona either…

…They either untie their shoes or actually remove one shoe, which seems to be a nod to a piece of pagan symbolism of stepping into and out of the underworld. Mignini was very familiar with this Masonic ritual. At 7 via della Pergola, the home of Meredith and Amanda, the track of single bloody shoe prints was evidence enough of their involvement.

Mignini was also comfortable with the notion that his Catholic Church still battles the forces of paganism, and chief among the church’s traditional pagan foes was an old cult in Italy that revered the fertility goddess Diana. Italian women executed as witches in the 1300s said they followed a “lady of the game” into the forest, where they practiced animal transformation, becoming beasts that could fly, and traveled long distances, entering houses through windows and walls, drinking wine, leaving behind feces, and waking up in their own beds the next morning unsure of how they’d gotten home.

The practitioners called those gatherings “games.” For some unclear reason, the game nights traditionally fell on Thursdays. DNA evidence would eventually prove that Guede sexually assaulted Kercher, and he was convicted of her killing. But Mignini would not believe such a simple explanation. The date, the shoe prints, the parallels to pagan rituals — this was an occult death ceremony, and Knox was at the center of it.

If the lack of physical evidence exonerates Knox in Italian court tomorrow, Mignini will be unbowed — he will likely believe the Masons have once again won.

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