The Elephant in the Room (Brancacci Text) by Ariel Guterman

In Felice Brancacci’s diary/travel log, the elephant in the room finally gets the attention it deserves.  This text completely overthrows the conventional understanding of the phrase.  The elephant is not only recognized, but fully described in great detail (something is said of every visible body part).  842 words, to be exact, are devoted to the description of this marvelous creature despite Brancacci’s claim that he is “barely able to speak about it.”  Compared to the otherwise sparsely worded text, the elephant’s discussion is strangely disproportional.  However, this was, for me, the most interesting portion of the text.  Quite possible, Brancacci believed the elephant to be the most remarkable element of his journey.  He enjoyed the elephant.  It did not try to harass him, exploit him, take money from him, or argue with him.  It was just there, perfectly obvious and without a hidden agenda.  Although Brancacci did not expect to encounter this animal, it wasn’t necessary for him to be prepared.  Other surprises during his journey could be met with such unadulterated awe.  The elephant was a conundrum that he didn’t have to solve, a question that needed no answer.

And just because there will never be another blog post for which this photo is even remotely relevant…


I couldn’t resist.




2 thoughts on “The Elephant in the Room (Brancacci Text) by Ariel Guterman

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