Notable Authors Sitting On Swans, No. 1 : Raymond Roussel Posted on Saturday, 16 January, 2010 by Frank Key
Is he also throttling it? Or am I imagining this extra dimension of torture for the poor swan????
If only this photograph showed a notable author *in adulthood* astride a swan. I am not sure that a child of this age can properly be classed as ‘notable’ when his notability clearly lies some way in the future.
To ignore this weighty caveat is to court a deluge of further images of present-day tots and striplings perched on swans, each snap bearing a pushy parent’s proleptic rubric adumbrating future literary eminence for their spawn, which you will, I fear, struggle to refute.
(Arguably that last sentence is a good deal too long).
I assume that the swan was dead and stuffed at the time this photograph was taken. Actually I’m probably not safe to assume that this is a photograph – it might be a daguerreotype.
My point is, do you suppose that forcing a child to straddle a stuffed bird is good for it’s sanity. I’m not familiar with the author’s work. Was he deranged and can the derangement be somehow linked to the swan incident?
Mr Shuddery : One of Roussel’s contemporaries is reported to have said he had “too much money and not enough sense”.
Contrary to the description of the photograph, it seems to me that it depicts the wondrous accidental meeting of two benighted creatures, the swan-headed child and the child-headed swan. See how they embrace, each chimera recognising in the other his own misery. The chin of the newly-confident child-headed swan seems to jut in new-found defiance of the world! I’m not sure if a beak can jut, so I shall reserve judgement on the swan-headed child – in any case it seems to me an altogether more ambiguous character. Such a firm grip on the child-headed swan’s neck; I infer here the crafty sense in the swan-headed child’s tiny bonce that it is the benefactor of this symbiotic relationship. After all, the swan-headed child may be dextrous and bipedal, but it is led around by a pea-sized brain. The child-headed swan, for its part, has a fey, ethereal beauty… but when the head matures into adulthood the neck will be powerless to support it, and what then?
Is it to late to point out that a swan can break your arm..?