Saturday, September 03, 2016


The Separation of the Soul from the Body

François Rabelais (1494-1553), Gargantua and Pantagruel IV.43 (on the Island of Ruach; tr. J.M. Cohen):
They do not shit, piss, or spit on this island. But, on the other hand, they poop, fart, and belch most copiously. They suffer from all sorts and varieties of diseases. For every malady originates and develops from flatulence, as Hippocrates proves in his book, On Wind. But the worst epidemic they know is the windy colic, as a remedy for which they use large cupping-glasses, and so draw off much wind. They all die of dropsy or tympanites; they all fart as they die, the men loudly, the women soundlessly, and in this way their souls depart by the back passage.

Ilz ne fiantent, ilz ne pissent, ilz ne crachent en ceste isle. En récompense, ilz vesnent, ilz pètent, ilz rottent copieusement. Ils pâtissent toutes espèces de maladies. Aussi toute maladie naist et procède de ventosité, comme déduyt Hippocrates, lib. de Flatibus. Mais la plus épidémiale est la cholicque venteuse. Pour y remédier, usent de ventoses amples et y rendent fortes ventositéz. lls meurent tous hydropicques, tympanites, et meurent les hommes en pétent, les femmes en vescent. Ainsi leur sort l'âme par le cul.
On the Hebrew word ruach see Primo Levi (1919-1987), The Periodic Table, tr. Raymond Rosenthal (New York: Schocken Books, 1995), p. 12:
From rúakh, plural rukhòd, which means "breath," an illustrious term that can be read in the dark and admirable second verse of the Genesis ("The wind of the Lord breathed upon the face of the waters") was taken tiré 'n rúakh, "make a wind," in its diverse physiological significances, where one catches a glimpse of the Biblical intimacy of the Chosen People with its Creator. As an example of practical application, there has been handed down the saying of Aunt Regina, seated with Uncle David in the Café Florio on Via Po: "Davidin, bat la cana, c'as sento nen le rukhòd!" ("David, thump your cane, so they don't hear your winds!"), which attests to a conjugal relationship of affectionate intimacy.


<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?