Story of a Carnal Soul. 100 years after the death of Charles Péguy
« Story of a soul made flesh – A centenary of Charles Péguy » is the title of the exhibition shown next august at the Rimini Meeting to commemorate the hundred anniversary of the death of one of our most beloved authors, whose history is deep-rooted in the culture of the Meeting itself and whose art is so greatly educative for our present lives.
The illusory oxymoron found in the first part of the title shows the many different polarities of Péguy’s biography: the childhood spent in poverty in Orleans and the adult work lived in the heart of the cultural French city; his never-deserted socialism and his fight against the parties ideologies; dreyfusism and patriotism; fidelity to his wife and children without denying his own fighting feelings; passionate friendship and the clear-cut with all those who don’t share its ideal reason; a caustic polemic spirit and a poetic afflatus.
That illusory oxymoron is the central theme of his work: the complete and absolute respect of the concrete and «carnal» reality in all its truth; the tireless search for his «soul». This is where his persistent belligerent temper against all ideology manipulation is born: political ideology; party system ideology; journalistic or literary, pedagogical or sociological. All of those which characterise the «modern world».
Lastly and mostly, «a soul made flesh» defines perfectly the profound and deep-rooted perception of the Christian Event in Péguy. It is this perception that allowed the writing of those unforgettable pages of the Mysteries. Reading them Von Balthasar declared: « More Christian words were never said ».
The exhibition dwells around a biographic view of the author’s life. A guided tour will escort the visitor through the most noteworthy moments in Charles Péguy’s life (1873-1914), the most resounding being his death on the battlefield during the first day of the Battle of the Marne. The rest of his life was spent in the hard editing work of his Cahiers de la Quinzane. Through this biographical path, the visitor will be able to directly engage with the texts of the great French poet, prolific author, whose work is, at the same time, so rich that it is almost impossible to elicit any short fragments and so powerful that some expressions still sound as unforgettable aphorisms.
To make the exhibition even more enjoyable and perceptible, four platforms are held in the tour where some of those noteworthy moments are put on stage with pieces of Péguy’s work read out loud.
An unreleased interview of Alain Finkielkraut will enrich even more the experience of the visitor.
Finally, though aware – thanks to Péguy’s teachings – that no one can produce one to his liking, our aim is to create an event out of our exhibition: the event of the meeting with a man of genius.
Curators: Piero Cappelli, Pigi Colognesi, Flora Crescini, Massimo Morelli.