Dove descending interior old Augustus Lutheran Church Sanctuary, founded by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, c. 1743 Providence (Trappe) PA, 18 Sept 2012.

08 August 2018

Pianta Celeste o Stella Terrestre

here  Elémire Zolla, editor  of the Rome journal Conoscenza Religiosa, read Pianta while refereeing for another journal and translated it into Italian (M. Marinelli) for this issue on New American Thought, April 1983. It is now retranslated back and appears in English for the first time. The nine essays included Guy Davenport, Rhodes Scholar at Merton College, Oxford from 1948 to 1950  studying Old English under J. R. R. Tolkien, and wrote many works including The Geography of the Imagination,  the larger than life Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in the middle of his  Oregon years,  Fritz Staal,  department founder and Professor of Philosophy and South/Southeast Asian Studies at Berkeley, I. O. ( Israel Otto) Lehman, curator of Hebrew documents at the Bodleian Library in OxfordLuce López-Baralt, writer on the mystical literature and religious practices of renaissance and medieval Spain, Andrea Mariana on Yeats in Merrill, John Steele, temporal density,"geomantic amnesia,"Kali Yuga, and pederast Peter Lamborn Wilson, lost soul of reputation.

Circulated in the day of typewriters, postage and submission lists in libraries, the Taiwan journal Studies in Mystical Literature suggested itself but rejected the essay. The editor included four pages of notes by a referee that complained "a lot is being made of a little and that it failed to include Longfellow among the star flowers, common knowledge anyway, "too much weight on a word." "all this about a man and plant seems way off the star/flower point of the essay; "deals with what seem to be cliches in a pedestrian way." Zolla's interest, not to speak of Foucault's in  Le parole e le cose  (1966, The Order of Things, 1970) discovered the subject  of the plant/man/star relation in biblical literature as profound and the basis for much wider celebrations. Written while a horticulturist for the Experimental Drug and Herb Garden, many essays on the theme occurred after at Human Botany and The Way into the Flowering Heart.

 Elémire Zolla, wrote, 6 Nov 1981: "I've just finished reading your essay - sent to SML -and I like it very much. I wonder whether you would allow me to translate it into Italian for my magazine Conoscena religiosa." So it appeared in Rome in Italian that spring of 1983. The title of Celestial Plant or Terrestrial Star in Italian is transcendent, pianta celeste o stella terrestre included with what Zolla billed as New American Thought.  I had not read it again in the intervening decades.  Years later I sent another piece to SML,  "True Humanity and the Created Universe / A Conversation in Heaven Before Creation" (Psalm 8 and 16) which was accepted. Editor Robert Eddy wrote a year after: "I just discovered that we forgot to send you an acceptance letter for your essay on Psalms 8 and 16, which we accepted in August 1985. The journal however had run its course and he informed it was to cease, so it would not appear after acceptance. Like an essay on Percival Lowell discovering Pluto in Japan at that time, what he saw he didn't see and what he didn't see he saw.

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