I’m still reading Beyond the Writers’ Workshop, in which Carol Bly dedicates a chapter to stage development theory, the hierarchical process by which we as people are purported to develop (or stagnate, as the case may be). These milestones of ego development (according to Loevinger) progress from presocial to symbiotic to impulsive to self-protective etc, etc, etc.
Bly pays special attention to the adjacent theories of Schiller and of George Orwell. The former’s second stage focuses on beauty, his third on governance (in order to correct cruelty). Orwell inserts a stage between these two, of interest in reportage. I like this interim step. Interim steps are good.
Anyhoo. This is all background. I was turning this stage development stuff over in my mind this morning and thought suddenly of Tosca, the “shabby little shocker,” with its eponymous singer who has stalled at the stage focused on beauty/aesthetic concerns. It’s her lover, Mario Cavaradossi, a painter with a political conscience, who forces her to step out of her aesthetic bubble. But this is opera, so she’s not exactly rewarded for her selflessness.
Angela Gheorghiu, damn.