Mirror of the Marvelous: The Surrealist Reimagining of Myth

by: Pierre Mabille

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Mirror of the Marvelous: The Surrealist Reimagining of Myth by Pierre Mabille / ISBN 9781620557334 / 300-page paperback from Inner Traditions

I think I've talked about this one since the days of "A Journey Round My Skull." I like to use it as an anthology of surrealist and proto-surrealist texts.

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A surrealist exploration of the marvelous in ancient, classic, and modern works from around the world / Long considered one of the most significant and original books to have come out of the surrealist movement

First published in French as Miroir du merveilleux in 1940, Mirror of the Marvelous has long been considered one of the most significant and original books to have come out of the surrealist movement and Anaïs Nin suggested it as a source of inspiration, far ahead of its time.

Drawing on sacred and modern texts that share a quality of the marvelous, Pierre Mabille defines “the marvelous” as the point at which inner and outer realities are joined and the individual is simultaneously one with himself and with the world, thus recovering the true sense of the sacred. He shows how “the marvelous” goes beyond simply being a synonym for “the fantastic” to engage the entire emotional realm. Mabille cites a far-reaching range of texts, from the classic to the obscure, from Egyptian myth to Voodoo initiation ceremonies, from the ancient epic to the modern poem, from the creation myth to more contemporary visions of apocalypse. He includes surrealist analyses of works from William Blake, Edgar Allen Poe, William Shakespeare, Chrétien de Troyes, and Arthur Rimbaud; legends and folktales from Egypt, Iceland, Mexico, Africa, India, and other cultures; classics from Ovid, Plato, and Apuleius; Masonic ritual texts, Mesopotamia’s Epic of Gilgamesh, the Popol-Vuh, Lewis Caroll’s Alice through the Looking Glass, Solomon’s Song of Songs, and selections from Goethe’s Faust.

Mirror of the Marvelous actively defines the flame of the marvelous by showing its presence in those works where it burns the brightest.