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Mount Analogue

March 12, 2012

Writing about The Holy Mountain made me think of this strange and wonderful little book. René Daumal left it unfinished when he died in 1944, so it is really just a fragment, ending in mid-sentence. He played with giving it the subtitle A Novel of Symbolically Authentic Non-Euclidean Adventures in Mountain Climbing, which does express something of its nature. It is a fantasy adventure story reminiscent of Jules Verne, or William Pène du Bois’s The Twenty-One Balloons, but also a serious spiritual and metaphysical allegory. Daumal was both an active member of the Parisian avant-garde literary scene and a deep student of Eastern philosophy and religion, to the point of producing translations from Sanskrit. This allegory is not heavy-handed or didactic, but rather breezy while still seeming somehow

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