Headline, February 13 2022/ ''' '' WOUNDS -WORLD'S- WOBBLE '' ''' : WISDOM



The Original Bambi : The Story of a Life in the Forest by Felix Salten. Translated and introduced by Jack Zipes. Illustrated by Alenka Sottler.

IT'S TRUE THAT THE WORLD HAS STAGGERED ON; We've figured out ways to survive, so far, the traumas that surround Salten. But he had the solace, at least, of seeing the natural world as a stable and static backdrop for the harsh dramas of the human world. A century later, we know that ''He'' is deep in the forest all the time.

Felix Salten published '' Bambi '' in 1923, and it was immediately a huge success, first in Austria and Germany and then, after an English translation [by, some what incredibly, Whittaker Chambers] in America, where it was a selection of the mighty Book of the Month Club and caught the attention of one Walt Disney.

The rest is history - the American Film Institute recognized Walt's version in 2008 as the third-best animated film of all time. It is thus firmly lodged in the boomer brain as a child's tale, which is precisely why this new translation from Princeton University Press is so welcome.

Because it turns out that ''Bambi'' is quiet remarkable : a meditation on powerlessness and survival told with great economy and sophistication.

The concentration of Literary firepower in fin de siecle Vienna has few counterparts in human history : The transitional movement headlined by Arthur Schnitzler, Karl Kraus and the Young Vienna group that gathered at the Cafe Griensteidi eventually birthed modernist [and difficult] classics such as Robert Musil's ''The Man Without Qualities.''

It's wonderfully ironic that the culture production of this milieu that eventually reached the widest audience is a talking-animal story.

Felix Salten was born Siegmund Salzmann in Hungary, but his family soon moved to Vienna, where he changed his name [according to his very able translator Jack Zipes] in order to ''unmark'' himself as a Jew.

He grew up on the edge of poverty, from which he made his escape by pursuing high art in many forms : ''He went to the theater, attended exhibits at museums and sought out places where he might meet people of culture and wealth.

Young Salten became an ambitious and shrewd social climber. His greatest desire was to be recognized as a dignified Austrian, a man of culture.''

In this he succeeded, becoming one of the city's most important journalists, and also something of a hack.

Bambi's worth sets the story in motion; he is utterly helpless and guileless fawn, living in a forest filled with adventures and joys, but also dangers, by far the worst of which is ''He,'' the hunter who stalks the woods, and the imagination of all who live within it.

Salten is an excellent naturalist. He describes the way Bambi learns to listen and smell, capturing the hyperalertness that is the birthright of prey :

''He knew when a pheasant was running through the bushes; he could exactly discern the delicate patter that stopped and started again.

He could also recognize the field mice by listening to the sound they made whenever they ran back and forth in the short paths.'' Anyone who has watched a doe on the edge of a field freeze and then turn her ear in the direction of some faint noise will see how right Salten has got it.

And anyone who has lived a life below the apex of his or her own society will recognize the coping mechanism he describes. There's the hedgehog who rolls into a ball with his ''barbs'' sticking out, the hare [ the progenitor of Thumper ] who becomes everyone's friend and, drawn with chilling precision, the collaborator, Gobo, proud to wear a collar and wrongly convinced it will protect him.

Bambi's strategy for physical and psychological survival was passed down to him by ''the old prince'' -the mentor buck. Of all his teachings, the most important one was you must learn to live alone, if you want to protect yourself, if you want to grasp the meaning of existence, if you want to attain wisdom.

It's a brutal meditation on existence, serving as a kind of wild counterpart to Orwell's domesticated animals on the Farm. And it's easy to imagine how it came to the mind of a man who'd achieved success but was nonetheless a Jew in a part of the global forest where that made survival a challenge.

There are plenty of compensations along the way, though : the love of mother and mate, and the beauty of the place.

That beauty must have been a balm in the 1920s, when Salten was writing - a salve against the turbulence of interwar Europe. Here's how Salten describes the forest of Bambi's early days : '' Everything smelled everywhere of fresh leaves, blossoms, moist earth and green wood.

When dawn broke, or when the sun went down, the entire forest resounded with a thousand voices, and from the morning until evening the bees sang, the wasps hummed and the bumblebees buzzed through the fragment and peaceful woods.''

These passages are actually harder for us to read now. It was just a few years ago that amateur entomologists in Central European nature reserves began to report a mass die-off of flying insects; in the course of a decade, the insect biomass dropped by as much as two-thirds, a victim of ever more pesticides on surrounding fields and perhaps of an ever-warmer world.

''We did not expect such a decline to be observed over only a decade,'' one researcher said.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Wisdom and Great Writings and Books, continues. The World Students Society thanks review author, Bill Mckibben.

With most respectful dedication to the Global Founder Framers of The World Students Society, Grandparents, Parents, Leaders, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the world.

See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - E-!WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

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