There’s a marvellous opinion piece today in the New York Times by the philosopher Martha C. Nussbaum, analysing how Strauss and Hofmannstahl got it all wrong about older women in the character of the Marschallin.
So what has this wise woman with what one critic calls “acute sensibilities” and “profound understanding” done? Out of all the men around, she has chosen one who is interested in sex alone, who has no capacity for intelligent conversation, and who has no interest at all in her as a person, except as a sex teacher. Why did she make this choice? No plausible motive is suggested. And this absence of motive, particularly in one so wise, creates the lie: the implicit explanation is that this is the only option she has.
Read on here.