Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-08-31 - 3:41 p.m.
Lots of work on procurement - including a meeting with Rolls Royce. Steamed trout steaks for supper.
Anne Stevenson’s SP bio arrived - looks good. I started by reading the section on the last year at Smiths and the first at Newnham - that’s the bit that looms large in SOS.because she is working off DHL and Hux pretty well in parallel - SP buys new Hux material and visit’s the place where DHL died - she experiences something at the hands of Matisse that may flow into Mystic.
AS has some good new material - in particular from someone Hughes and Plath visited in Autumn 1962 in Connemarra. This is late in the trajectory of the marriage. The visit is linked to W B Yeats - they go to see his tower etc. (Connemara is thought to be one of the few pre-Celtic place names that has survived)
I have plentiful interest in all of this - Mrs C and I spent a fair amount of time in Connemara before we were married - at the end of the 70s. We nearly died on one of the Twelve Pins - but we didn’t. . S&T take the 6 mile boat ride to Inishboffin which seems to have been as much of an adventure as when we made the trip in a small boat with an outboard motor about 15 years later. Inishboffin is a small-ish island right at the end of the Connemara peninsular - very very celtic - beautiful beaches, deserted crofts etc.
The other place in this memoire is North Tawton in Devon. This also features in the personal history - James was born in early April and so he was making his presence felt in the previous August when Mrs C and I were staying in North Tawton. It was during this visit that I made a solo trek across Dartmoor from a westerly point to a northerly point. Normally Mrs C wd have come too but she was incapacitated so I went on my own amidst the stone rows, tors and wild ponies. SP moved from North Tawton back to Yeats place in London just after the Connemara visit.
There is a very good passage in the Myers memoire of Hughes and Plath which AS included in the annexes:
‘Ted and I shared a preoccupation with shamanic dismemberment and reconstitution of the body…Two years earlier he had reviewed Eliade’s Shamanism and written to me about it. Four years earlier he had written to me that every work - mine or his - must henceforth include an episode of ‘the tearing of the cat.’
The tearing experience must have visited Ted not only in the humanistic apperceptions but in the banal day to day jealousies of the various connections who were making claims on him.’
My aim is to explore how far this represents a link between the art-imagery of the Savage and the art of disturbancy which has surfaced in the last 30 years. Shamanic dismemberment sounds pretty close to i me. What is the broad high level structure that supports the development of a form of artistic endeavour where the artist puts themselves literally and destructively into the art-work? At the back of my mind I wonder whether Mary Douglas’ theory of social/bodily imagery may not be a good tool deploy here.