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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Dzing! Perfume And My Carnival Night

Rousseau_carnivalMikhail Bakhtin is a favorite critic who elucidated a favorite author, Francois Rabelais. Bakhtin's writings on the comic violence, bad language, exaggeration, satire, and shape-shifting of Rabelais are a prime example of one genius of elucidation reaching back across an expanse of time to find his component genius of expression.

For the Russian Bakhtin, the Frenchman Rabelais is the greatest example of what he terms "carnivalesque" literature. Ever concerned with the liberation of the human spirit, Bakhtin claims that carnivalesque literature — like the carnivals themselves — broke apart oppressive and mouldy forms of thought and cleared the path for the imagination and the never-ending project of emancipation.

And so like the unexpected carnvial entertainments of an afternoon of Indian Summer float in the skin-warmed calliope notes of L'Artisan Parfumer's Dzing!

An odd scent created to be redolent of the circus, Dzing! is an olfactory crazy quilt that had my mind simulateneously hypnotized and jumping all over.

Here is the warmth of straw-lined animal stalls, the lure of colored lights strung over a parched plot of hayfield, and a striped tent with weird shadows thrown on the walls blasted in patches inside with the seared sugar and intense butter of caramel popcorn.

Carnival pleasures are by their nature as sensual and fleeting as a mirage. But after the pretty lights are extinguished and the tents are folded, Dzing! predicts the way the night and the year turn in their seasonal groove: the Indian Summer day and autumn move on as midnight and winter advance. Dzing! is a fair text describing what it is like in the small in-between of seasons and time that mark the carnival parenthesis.

Like the the waking dream of a circus, Dzing! is crepuscular and impermanent, but totally necessary and nearly divine.

"Carnival Night" by Henri Rousseau, above.


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A beautiful review of one of my absolute favourites. Thank you!

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