Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Isobel's particulars

Well it's about time for some introduction. Where did Isobel come from?

Ok I might provide a few answers only. Isobel is actually the name of a wonderful song written and sung by Bjork included in the album Post (around 1995) and that is her second solo album in between Debut and Homogenic (although I think Homogenic is more "Isobel" than the Post itself in which Isobel might be an isolated song only making companion with the last two songs, "Cover me" and "Headphones", -to be continued). Isobel was the soundtrack of an anime movie. I'd never been really interested in anime or Japanese culture whatsoever but structural state-linguistics brought me closer to the Japanese culture (specially for semiotic reasons) than I ever thought I'd be.

Isobel was soundtrack of the movie called "Monokoke Hime" (Princess Monokoke) that was released about 1995 or 1996, while I was still in my innocent adolescence (just about to start with drugs to be more specific). The character of Isobel was named "San" in the movie but I rather stayed with the name "Isobel" which actually is a Germanization of a Hebrew name needless to say.

San was apparently a girl who was raised by a mountain wolf and who has an intense hatred for humans who invade the forest (hummmm.... don't start tilting up your heads at this point please for it gets betters). With a strange mask on her face and riding a huge mountain wolf, she repeatedly attacks the humans who have established an iron making place in her forest. It's told that after meeting "the guy" (or Ashitaka in the film) "her heart sways between the Gods and the humans".

I believe the entourage and idea itself of "San" is a very Nordic motif, and hence I've decided to take upon this sympathetic character for a theme. I must confess there've been several external motivations that led to this but the frame of the main original idea remains untouched. Although the movie is full of samurais and very anime-like ideas I still stress the very Nordic personality of San. She could be perfectly a Finnish characterization but for personal "raisons d'├ętre" I created my Isobel more as an Icelandic or purely polar figure. She must have been originally Icelandic and hence this language would constitute her mother tongue, or even better... the Old Norse we have been studying for sometime. I believe some further insight into Old English (and the old Anglo-Saxon culture itself), Modern Icelandic, Proto-Germanic and Classical Greek will bring us closer to the authentic nature of the Isobel I've pictured out.

Isobel must have been a Northern Icelandic character although it's very prone to be confused for the polar settings dispose us of the forestal milieu hence we shall take her back into a more Western Icelandic scenario. Still I don't pretend to say she must be settled down in Iceland but part of some Icelandic emmigration wave. The place in which this story takes place must be indeed somewhere in Finland, probably in the surroundings of Karelia, to be more specific Rovaniemi; the town that is separated by the Northern Pole and the Arctic Pole. I still lack of enough specific background to make a more detailed description of the conditions of the time but it should be overcome in due course of time. As a philologist I have a growing interest in the personality of Isobel as a highly cultured individual, self-didact and yet savage.

This must be it for now. More tomorrow. I'll provide a few links too.

Ari
Still in the Middle East


No comments: