Friday, April 3, 2015
The women and knights, the weapons and loves
When someone gets accustomed to Renaissance culture, it is hard to find the same atmospheres and subjects -- "The women and knights, the weapons and loves" -- in later literature and art. But, they have not disappeared. The fantasy genre is the most direct legacy of the poems of chivalry; and within it, that is a mare magnum, my candidate as the masterpiece is Tolkien's posthumous novel The Children of Húrin: here the core fantasy theme of the Dragon Slayer is reinterpreted in the dark, well-structured, and even uninhibited way of a Greek tragedy. Túrin Turambar shares some features with Achilles.
Go Nagai, in his turn, thanks to the fact of belonging to another culture, reworks the great topoi of the West, both classical and Christian, with the same freedom and strength as the Renaissance poets and artists did. According to one of his manga series, Z Mazinger (a more recent restyling, not the original character), Z is for Zeus, so Olympus turns into the cosmic seat of giant, extra-terrestrial, intelligent, immortal robots who fight to conquer or defend the Earth, precisely as it had happened with Troy.