Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Candles #3: Entertain good dreams, and live here

It is part of our understanding of our world, and of what constitutes an historical event for this world, that Luther redefined the world in getting married, and Henry the Eighth—one of the last figures Shakespeare was moved to write about—in getting divorced. It has since then been a more or less open secret in our world that we do not know what legitimizes either divorce or marriage. Our genre [of the comedies of remarriage] emphasizes the mystery of marriage by finding that neither law nor sexuality (nor, by implication, progeny) is sufficient to ensure true marriage and suggesting that what provides legitimacy is the mutual willingness for remarriage, for a sort of continuous reaffirmation, and one in which the couple's isolation from the rest of society is generally marked; they form as it were a world elsewhere. The spirit of comedy in these films depends on our willingness to entertain the possibility of such a world, one in which good dreams come true.

—Stanley Cavell, of course, from the chapter in Pursuits of Happiness about that flick up top

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