August 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

>Do you think I know what I’m doing?
That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself?
As much as a pen knows what it’s writing,
or the ball can guess where it’s going next.


The red reddens

Emmanuel Levinas

I choose to call it polymorphus magical substance, this quite other medium that that floats like the breath of the dying sun, a polymorphus substance that is the act and art of seeing.

–Michael Taussig

Once more you near me, wavering apparitions
That early showed before the turbid gaze.
Will now I seek to grant you definition,
My heart essay again the former daze?
You press me! Well, I yield to your petition,
As all around, you rise from mist and haze;
What wafts about your train with magic glamor
Is quickening my breath to youthful tremor.

–Goethe, Faust


1. Magic, enchantment, spell; esp. in the phrase to cast the glamour over one (see quot. 1721).

?17.. Johnny Faa in Ritson Sc. Songs (1794) II. 177 As soon as they saw her well far’d face, They coost the glamer o’er her. 1720 RAMSAY Rise & Fall Stocks 152 Like Belzie when he nicks a witch, He..Casts o’er her een his cheating glamour. 1721 Gloss. to Poems s.v., When devils, wizards or jugglers deceive the sight, they are said to cast glamour o’er the eyes of the spectator. 1789 BURNS Capt. Grose’s Peregrin. iv, Ye gipsy-gang that deal in glamor, And you deep read in hell’s black grammar, Warlocks and witches. 1830 SCOTT Demonol. iii, This species of Witchcraft is well known in Scotland as the glamour, or deceptio visus, and was supposed to be a special attribute of the race of Gipsies. 1859 TENNYSON Enid 743 That maiden in the tale, Whom Gwydion made by glamour out of flowers. 1860 READE Cloister & H. I. 98 He knows father and daughter both. They cast their glamour on him. 1894 D. C. MURRAY Making of Novelist 199 The man had a glamour for me and drew me with the attraction of a magnet.

2. a. A magical or fictitious beauty attaching to any person or object; a delusive or alluring charm.

1840 HOOD Kilmansegg, Fancy Ball xxxvi, For to paint that scene of glamour It would need the Great Enchanter’s charm. 1863 OUIDA Held in Bondage 97, I know how quickly the glamour fades in the test of constant intercourse. 1874 GREEN Short Hist. v. §1. 213 A sudden burst of military glory threw its glamour over the age of Cressy and Poitiers.

b. Charm; attractiveness; physical allure, esp. feminine beauty; freq. attrib. (see sense 3). colloq. (orig. U.S.).

–The Oxford English Dictionary

Before us lies eternity; our souls
Are love, and a continual farewell

–W.B. Yeats, “Ephermera” 1895

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