The Gaze of Orpheus is derived from the antiquarian Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Following his descent into the Underworld Orpheus disobeys Hades’ and Persephone’s condition for release of his wife Eurydice.
"To you this tale refers, Who seek to lead your mind Into the upper day; For he who overcome should turn back his gaze Towards the Tartarean cave, Whatever excellence he takes with him He loses when he looks on those below." (Cited in “Greek Mythology Link: Orpheus”)
The Gaze of Orpheus has since been evaluated by many a philosopher and literary critic. Common analogies are made between Orpheus’s gaze and writing processes, philosophical interpretation, and artistic origins. Some of the most famous uses of the gaze of Orpheus can be found in Maurice Blanchot’s work The Gaze of Orpheus, Geoffrey Sirc’s, The Composition’s Eye/Orpheus’s Gaze/Cobain’s Journals, and Jaques Lacan’s work on the mirror stage
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Famous quotes containing the words gaze and/or orpheus:
“A blind man. I can stare at him
ashamed, shameless. Or does he know it?
No, he is in a great solitude.
O, strange joy,
to gaze my fill at a strangers face.
No, my thirst is greater than before.”
—Denise Levertov (b. 1923)
“Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes as, warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Plutos cheek,
And made Hell grant what love did seek;”
—John Milton (16081674)