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  1. In some narrative frame it could be argued that German playwright and novelist Heinrich von Kleist is who made Sylvie a fighter, or in the sense of how Einstein theorizes about gravity, provided the enormously dense mass that distorted the fabric of space and time (the bowling ball on the blanket analogy), to make all things swing and sway "downhill" until it's a careening masterpiece of unparalleled fighting, alone in the sport. If you haven't read it, it's incredible. It's basically Sci-Fi written in the dawn of the19th century, a Science Fiction on Gender. You can find it in German here (Penthesilea, free download), and in English in a beautiful hardcover here (Penthesilea, Amazon). It really is High Art meets Marvel superhero. Nothing like it. It would be a pretty long and convoluted story to lay out the personal history between the play and Sylvie, and myself, diving down into German Literature (Sylvie studied German, and studied in Berlin), but it's enough to say that I do believe that the play positioned ourselves. It lay the course for this mad, incredibly romantic adventure. Silver Surfer, Wolverine. These fantasy images definitely set the course for the affective potentials of a human, but Penthesilea does incredibly more than that. It outlines a problematic between gender relations, and it does so as an accelerant. above, a Maurice Sendak illustration from the hardcover translation - ascending a chasm descending from space - Silver Surfer I'm really creating this post as a place holder for a potential conversation about the figure of Penthesilea, and how she relates to the frame of the contemporary female fighter ambition. There is so much to discuss here it is my hope that piecemeal elements of the puzzle can be jigsawed together. If you are interested in the subject I highly recommend you read the play - it's not easy to get in English, if anyone with a superior Google finger can find a PDF English translation link, that would be awesome. This was a really formitive play that as I look back on it now maybe 10 years after it's initial influence or so, it seems more true, or compass setting than ever. above, the Death of Achilles in the play It's hard to overstate the reach of this kind of examination. The myth of the Amazons - a parallel culture where women rule instead of men, bonded by a warrior code - has populated western consciousness for over 2000 years. Presently figures of martial power like Wonder Woman, drawn directly from that storytelling, symbolize real female power changes in the culture: growing voice, increased economic autonomies, self-determinations. Female fighters in the present day act out, in some sense, in the context of these images and storylines, and Penthesilea presents perhaps the acme of this kind of contestation, as female power to self-direct, take pride, self-own, wrestles against the idealized masculine form which symbolizes all of these things. The play traces the outline of the injunction which supposedly keeps the feminine from occupying the position of the masculine.
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