This trailer for Francois Truffaut's 'The Wild Child' probably says more about the publicity team at MGM's view of childhood than Truffaut's - the juxtaposition between 'innocence' and 'animal' as if the human is the former and the latter is freighted with the unkempt, the unruly and the dangerous. If only humans were as innocent as animals, the earth could breathe more freely!
I saw this beautiful film many years ago and reading about it in Jay Griffiths' 'Kith' reanimated a desire to see it again. It tracks the historic story of a child found in eighteenth century France who, to all appearance, had grown up in the woods and the efforts undertaken to allow him to re-enter and learn human society (mostly forlorn). Such cases, few and far between, have fed long running debates on what it means to be human, most especially what is the role of language in the act of making human.
Similar territory is traversed by David Malouf in his wonderfully imagined novel of Ovid in exile interacting with a child who has been nurtured by wolves: 'An Imaginary Life'. Malouf decidedly comes down on the side of believing that empathy and communication lie on the other side of language. Its emergence makes more complex the possibilities of expression, it does not prescribe its possibility. The natural solution of a Romantic.
Truffaut's film arrived in the daily of dose of purchases - I do have to learn to stop (or, at least, slow down, lest the prophecy of my mother's birthday card is realised: an elderly man submerged to his shoulders in books)!
Amongst the incoming was Frances Hodgson Burnett's 'The Secret Garden' another meditation on the nature of childhood, courtesy of reading Griffith's beautiful evocation of this much loved 'children's book'.
'The Forbidden Book' by Joscelyn Godwin and Guido Mina di Sospiro which is an 'occult' novel written by actual esotericists, scholars of the subject, one of whom, Godwin, many years ago I enjoyed getting to know at Temenos' conferences and who gifted us, as a conference, a beautiful way of collective singing, using only the vowel sounds, chosen by each participant of their own volition, yet collaboratively evoking the most magical and beautiful wordless song.
And finally a book I did not have to buy, 'Leading from the Emerging Future' by Otto Scharner and Katrin Kaufer as one of its author's, Otto, kindly sent it to me as we explore how better we might collaborate with the Presencing Institute he founded at MIT.
When any of them will get to be read is anyone's guess!!!