Sunday, May 23, 2021

"Prosto plakat. Osvobodi sedya": The figure of delay in C. Dale Young's "Portrait in Nightshade and Delayed Translation"

In C. Dale Young's "Portrait in Nightshade and Delayed Translation", the speaker goes to the Hermitage with his family, wanders off by himself, and sees a painting he once studied in college, Rembrandt's "The Return of the Prodigal Son". After his physical response to the painting causes him to fall to his knees in tears, a guard tells him: "Prosto plakat. Osvobodi sedya". Only years later does a friend offer him the title's "delayed translation": "Just cry. / Free yourself." That delay is doubled by the time between his study and his experience of the painting, as well as by the delay in the prodigal son's story between departure and return. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 23 May 2021)


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Rembrandt, "Return of the Prodigal Son", c. 1669


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