Love between men and women nowadays in the Western World is marked by increasing conflict, it really is. The ancient compact between women seeking children and protection and men, longing in their hearts to give women those things and surge life forward, seems, at least in this dubious historical moment, to be over. Or at least in flux.
Enter these two ancient stories about love. The Crane Wife, a simple-on-its-surface folktale from old Japan, and The Dame Ragnell, a more intellectually complex but nevertheless fraught tale from the French courtly poets of the 1400’s, those iconoclasts who dared to suggest that without their families’ approval, a woman and a man could fall in love and marry each other anyway, just from the sheer magic of their souls having found one another.
“Romantic love” is a Western notion. It was born in Europe. It speaks to a time when towns became cities.
If you’d like to listen to and think about these two ancient love stories, by all means, join me at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square this coming Sunday, Feb. 10th at 5 pm. It’s a Valentine’s Day show, one I do each year.
The music is on pentatonically tuned Celtic harp and pretty lush 12-string guitar. Lots of character voices, sound effects and other drama-inducing illusions to keep the tales moving.
Hope to see you there.