Here I am in Dilijan, looking out over the mountains of Armenia! It reminds me alot of Albania and, indeed, I came across a map today which seems to confuse the two places precisely: here it is-
The Dong with the Luminous Nose
In Lear’s poem, “the Dong with the Luminous nose”, I realise there is an interesting omission. Lear must have intended, in some way, a play on the doorbell-sound “ding dong” so the natural consort of the Dong must then by rights be the “Ding”.
Sadly, the Dong has other interests and pursues a Jumbly girl.
There is more to this though, because Kant would go on with expressions like “Ding an sich” the thing in itself, so Dong has a much deeper meaning in the Germanic/english world. Kant would talk about the thing in itself as opposed to its actual appearance, “Erscheinungen,” what we see with our senses, something Plato would no doubt regard with suspicion. Lear’s Dong has clearly lost its “Ding an sich” and the light on his augmented nose simply illuminates the physical world and fails to get to the nitty-gritty, the thing in itself, whether this be the Jumbly girl he seeks or the missing Ding he does not know he has lost. The Dong therefore, confused by his senses is doomed to wander forever, weeping into the night.
For luminous nose, read “numinous lose” or numinous loss- where the numinous is the spiritual- so, the Dong has lost his soul. He cannot see beyond the end of his own nose. that is a theme that reappears in the original 1964 “Mary Poppins” and leads up to Disney’s beloved song, “Feed the Birds”.
Jane: An outing with father?
Mary Poppins: Yes.
Michael: I don’t believe it!
Jane: He’s never taken us on an outing before.
Michael: He’s never taken us anywhere!
Jane, Mary Poppins: However did you manage it?
Mary Poppins: Manage what?
Jane: You must have put the idea in his head somehow.
Mary Poppins: What an impertinent thing to say! Me, putting ideas into people’s heads? Really!
Jane: Where’s he taking us?
Mary Poppins: To the bank.
Jane: Oh Michael, the city! We’ll see all the sights and father can point them out to us!
Mary Poppins: Well, most things he can. Sometimes a person we love, through no fault of their own, can’t see past the end of his nose.