The Lost Pleiad and the many/one brunette dichotomy

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Siku
 
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The Lost Pleiad and the many/one brunette dichotomy

Postby Siku » 04 Nov 2012

I’ve been thinking about this many/one brunette dichotomy we’ve been discussing in the Carol thread, and I was reminded of an analogue.

The Pleiades. Always loved this celestial object. Is it one or many? To my peripheral vision the individual stars that make up the Pleiades seem to be separate entities. But trying to look directly at them they merge into a single cloud of light (because the rods that dominate peripheral vision perceive contrast well, but the cones at the center of the retina perceive colour, not contrast). So the Pleiades exist in a half night between one and many - fracturing and coalescing as the eye moves across them.

The Pleiades.jpg


At least, that’s how they appear in these days of ubiquitous light pollution, as viewed from the south of England, but classical scholars knew the Pleiades as seven individual stars.

The blue/purple colour is real, BTW; it isn’t a conceit of the computer-generated images of radio telescopy - that’s an analogue photograph. The colour comes from a huge interstellar dust cloud the Pleiades are ‘currently’ moving through. Exquisite.

In classical mythology the seven Pleiades are seven sisters, virgin companions of Diana. The dimmest of the seven is Merope. Known as The Lost Pleiad, she was often not seen by astronomers or charted like her sisters. Here she is:

Merope.jpg


According to the mythology she shines dully because she is shamed for eternity for having a relationship with a mortal, becoming mortal herself and then fading away (she married Sisyphus of pointless boulder rolling fame).

Another story tells that Merope’s father Oenopion was visited by Orion and received him as a friend. Becoming drunk Orion molested Merope and pursued her and her sisters relentlessly. In a bid to help them escape this harassment Diana appealed to Zeus on his mountain to protect them, which he did by turning them into stars.

Club Silencio Blue.png


Interestingly, according to another version of the myth, Oenopion is not Merope’s father but her husband.

This portrait of Merope by William Adolphe Bouguereau ‘The Lost Pleiad’ was painted in 1844. He could see the blue/purple colour too.

Lost Pleiad 1884 - William Adolphe Bouguereau.jpg


Assaulted by her dad’s friend, becoming a star to escape but failing to burn brightly enough to be noticed, doomed to death by her choices, Merope reminded me of someone else.

Diane Star.png


Just thought I'd share.

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marksman.
 
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Re: The Lost Pleiad and the many/one brunette dichotomy

Postby marksman. » 07 Nov 2012

Great stuff, Siku. I enjoyed reading it.

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Siku
 
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Re: The Lost Pleiad and the many/one brunette dichotomy

Postby Siku » 19 Dec 2012

Thanks Marksman, glad you liked it. :)

I'm fascinated by the colour Lynch uses for the background of the jitterbug scene. I've often seen this colour referred to as 'blue' and connections drawn with the blue box, blue key, blue van, blue luggage, blue dress, blue-haired lady, blue light, blue smoke, blue neon, blue electricity... blue screen, blue shift, blue velvet...

But it's not blue is it? It's purple.

And it's not a thing or an object it's PURE COLOUR. I'm quite satisfied that Lynch uses colours for their symbolic meanings (not solely). Purple is a mixture of blue and red. Purple represents magic, mystery, royalty. Red also has powerful symbolic resonances, blood, sex, violence, war, you know.

Purple is associated with Diane here while pink is associated with Betty - pink being what Alan Shaw characterises as girlish or immature sexuality.

Maybe purple represents a pre-oedipal, undifferentiated amalgamation of pink/red/blue. So in this I'm reading the jitterbug scene as a representsation of the infant Diane, pre-abuse, pre-self and therefore pre-self-loathing. Happy.

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derekfnord
 
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Re: The Lost Pleiad and the many/one brunette dichotomy

Postby derekfnord » 19 Dec 2012

Interesting thoughts, Siku. Good stuff! :)


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