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OUR BOOKS > THIS ENCHANTED WORLD AND OTHER OPERAS

The Enchanted World

Librettos
Fifteen librettos written by Chester Eagle
Layout after design by Vane Lindesay
DTP work by Karen Wilson
Circa 50,000 words
Electronic publication 2009 by Trojan Press

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Download this book:
Adobe Acrobat > PDF Cover This Enchanted World
> PDF Book This Enchanted World
> PDF Manuscript (see below)

The Introduction and separate librettos are available as follows:

Introduction

1 Segovia
2 Man Swallows God
3 The Water Tower
4 The Endeavour
5 A Brighter Garden
6 John Grey’s Journey
7 On the Water
8 The Visit
9 Some Angel Pray for Me
10 Getting Better?
11 God is normally ...
12 A Turning World
13 Taking off
14 The Fist
15 This Enchanted World


The writing of this book:

When I first set up this website, I found it easy to write about the origins of each book and my experiences in writing them; they all lay many years behind me! It was fascinating to cast my mind back to the sort of person I had been, with ideals and practices different from those of today. But I keep adding new work, and that distance between the writing and the reflection on the writing has disappeared. So what can I say about this latest batch of librettos?

Looking at the list, the first thing that strikes me is that they are a motley collection. The second is the boldness. Sometimes the young are bold and the old grow cautious. I think I’ve moved in the opposite direction. Some of them are acutely personal, for the very good reason that, now I am old, I can’t see any reason to worry about my own individuality because everything I know about myself is replicated by things I know about other people. I don’t actually believe that all people are the same, but we have so much in common that, were we to be blown to bits by an explosion and then reassembled, I’m confident that pieces of everybody would get mixed up in the reconstruction.

A silly idea, you may well think, but that’s another feature of the events in these librettos: they’re quite often silly. The Water Tower is a good example, and so is The Endeavour. Both of these, by the way, have important parts for aboriginal people, a sign that the older civilisation, in ruins for two hundred years, is coming back into the consciousness even of those who welcomed the obliteration of the black people. This merger, or re-emerger, will keep going, I have no doubt. What it will produce I won’t be around to see, and I regret this profoundly. I am an optimist and I expect my country to improve, though heaven knows why I think such a thought. This optimism underlies This Enchanted World, the libretto that gives the collection its title, in which events suggest that the world is almost beyond improvement. So many disastrous things happen! Yet a few optimistic spirits drive things forward, and are willing to leave ‘heaven’ and return to earth, again and again, to keep things moving.

This too is silly, I suppose, but one of the benefits of writing in one’s third period (to borrow an idea from Shakespeare and Beethoven, two of humanity’s gods), is that one feels confident in picking up things one wrote about earlier and taking them further, further, much further than one had taken them before.

I say this because, searching through my earlier works to see if there are models for This Enchanted World, I find myself reconsidering Hail and Farewell! An Evocation of Gippsland. This was my first published book and I was very proud when it came into the shops, a published book by my own hand. I thought I was a writer, not realising that one is only a writer when one writes without thinking about the self behind the writing. The best thing about my Gippsland book is that for the most part I let the people and places of Gippsland speak for themselves. Oddly enough, this same characteristic runs through this latest collection of librettos. Each presents an event or an idea and lets it run until its meaning is made visible, at which point the action stops. The Danish composer Carl Nielsen once said that when there is a silent bar in music the listener should imagine – I think he should have said realise – that the music is going on in another place. I would like readers of these librettos to have such a feeling at the point where each one ends. This is an idea that might run a long way yet!

I concluded my Introduction to the collection by saying that the librettos have presented me with a challenge which I, in turn, pass on. ‘Do what you can with them, dear reader. They’re full of an old man’s ideas of reverence, which he hopes to share’.

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Download this book:
Adobe Acrobat > PDF Cover This Enchanted World
> PDF Book This Enchanted World
> PDF Manuscript
(see above)

OUR BOOKS > THIS ENCHANTED WORLD AND OTHER OPERAS

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