Mrs Killick’s Luck is, I think, the strangest of Stevie Smith’s literary involvements. Which is saying something for an author who captioned a book of cat photographs.
‘for something to be proper it must either belong to something else, or be in full possession of itself.’ – Camelia Elias
I found this quotation in Elias’s The Fragment: towards the History and Poetics of a Performative Genre. I was mostly looking for ideas about the fragmentary, but I liked Elias’s definition of the ‘proper’ so much that I decided to digress into a blog post about it.
I’ve been reading the Mabinogion over Christmas. The story of Taliesin – who puts his burnt finger to his mouth while preparing a magic potion, and thereby acquires all wisdom – led me to a similar tale in the Norse legends. Sigurd burnt his finger while cooking the heart of Fafnir the Dragon, put it to his mouth, and instantly acquired understanding of the language of birds.
And this led me back to Stevie Smith’s ‘Fafnir and the Knights‘.