LA PORTA DELLA PERCEZIONE Nel 1908 il boemo Alfred Kubin disegnò le illustrazioni di quello che sarebbe poi diventato Il Golem di Gustav Meyrink: la fantasia gli prese però la mano e le acqueforti finirono col risultare molto diverse dal romanzo di Meyrink ancora incompiuto. Così, Kubin decise di servirsene per un suo romanzo, il suo primo e ultimo, questo, che nacque come illustrazione scritta delle sue illustrazioni. Che fu definito dallo stesso autore un romanzo fantastico: nel senso che si occupa del mondo del fantastico, quindi della fantasia, non nel senso che Kubin ammirasse la sua opera al punto da qualificarla sensazionale, meravigliosa. Anche Freud era noto, e la sua Interpretazione dei sogni già pubblicata da qualche anno (1903): Kubin sembra presentarsi come traduttore dellinconscio non per niente è considerato un precursore di surrealismo ed espressionismo. Mongolia?) una piccola città tedesca di fine secolo, Perla, capitale del Regno del Sogno, e vi trasferisce i suoi veri abitanti. Nel regno del sogno, rifugio per gli insoddisfatti della civiltà moderna, si provvede a tutti i bisogni materiali. O addirittura del nazismo visto che gli abitanti del Regno del Sogno, un paese destinato a ripiegarsi su se stesso ed estinguersi, sono tutti tedeschi?
Kubin ha escrito un libro tan extraño como cautivante y sorprendente a la vez, y dota a El otro lado de una buena cantidad de ingredientes que logran atraer al lector para que éste le dedique una total atención a la historia. Planteada como una extraña invitación de un también extraño personaje llamado Claus Patera al narrador del libro para que éste y su esposa viajen a radicarse a un remoto lugar que Patera denomina El Reino Soñado va a ir transformándose en una compleja y vertiginosa sucesión de hechos para terminar en una auténtica vorágine de peste, muerte, barbarie, caos y salvajismo que ni narrador ni lector sospechan con el correr de las primeras páginas. Por otro lado, los elementos que se combinan para adornar a este Reino Soñado de Patera son verdaderamente acertados para convencer a los visitantes denominados soñadores que vivirán en esa enorme ciudad en algún lugar perdido en Asia Central. Y más desconcierto genera aun la frase final que Kubin eligió para culminar la historia: El demiurgo es hermafrodita Repito: Franz Kafka consideraba a El otro lado como una de sus novelas predilectas y Herman Hesse la definía como una obra maestra.
I don't know if I really liked this or not. It pretty much bored me to the backs of my eyeballs and then showed me what those dangly nerves looked like in my pasty white hand. We mental people come from all corners of this wide mental land in peace. So I've got this "Dream land" that is pretty much my own country and shit. Mariel went into a lawyer coma over this reading of the will style part and didn't wake up until after the waaaaay more boring than the extensive train travel part of Christopher Priest's The Prestige (that was kind of interesting in the way of a guy who could make a home out of not being home, and falling love with moving tracks off the rails of those obstructed by Ben Franklin's kite sky writing). If I don't remember what the hell happened at any time in my life between this part of the book and today it isn't my fault. If I was one of the kids who fucked up on the first hour of my visit to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory I might feel like this. You know that other land place where missing socks go? The Dream Land was like that, to me. The bitchy nurse says some shit now about how that was the point, Europe after WWI, blah blah blah. I don't want to think too hard to come up with this means this or this means that. This is what I liked about The Other Side: (Oh yeah, i forgot to say I read this translated and not in the original German. The German may be perfect for all I know.) I liked the written descriptions of what would have been drawings. There are illustrations in the book but I liked the descriptions better than the drawings. I could feel how the artist would sniff like a blood hound to run away from the blood rushing in the ears that don't pick up mutual cries. Oh yeah, that's what The Other Side does too much with this Patera and Dream Land fixation. I got bored of trying too hard to look that hard. Other than the way the artist would describe things as if he could paint them it was too much like trying to slap some name on it. I think I already feel too much that bad stuff that happens is a collective will, anyway.
Whether I go down to the inn or all round the world, I am a wanderer, and with me all animals, here, there, everywhere. Many dont even know it. The Other Side is a gnostic tale the Dream Realm of this dark parable is a creation of the insane demiurge who doesnt even know the difference between good and evil. The people talked themselves into believing the things they imagined. I dont know if Franz Kafka read The Other Side or not, but at times some motifs of Amerika , The Castle and even The Trial seem to echo this novel.
How it ends I won't say, but imagine any dream you've ever had that starts out being sort of quirky and then rapidly devolves into a nightmare from which you struggle to awaken, and that describes this novel in a nutshell. I don't know if anyone's noticed (she says in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way), but I tend to be a reader of strange novels, and this one is out there.
Our protagonist(?), and his wife travel by rail to the Dream Kingdom. As discoveries are made and things start to deteriorate, a foil to Patera appears in the form of an American, Hercules Bell who begins to accelerate the collapse of the kingdom. He had two long vertical rows of nipples, I counted eighteen. With a snort, he inflated his lungs, filling first the right and then the left side of his chest, and then with his fingers on the eighteen nipples played the most beautiful harmonica pieces. as the kingdom deteriorates; the most valuable objects had clearly lost the will to live.
Paired with the piercing brilliance of another novel of the forces of dreams that I happened to read nearly at the same time, The Lathe of Heaven, this is all murk and decay and irrational forces, the dream-unleashed id of a century that would, just a few years later, reveal first the bloodiest war in world history, then another even more cataclysmic, almost immediately after. Not that Lathe doesn't have its sense of entropy too, but an impressively sustained portion of this one seems given over entirely to the horrors of entropy.
From 1892 to 1896, he was apprenticed to the landscape photographer Alois Beer, although he learned little.1 In 1896, he attempted suicide on his mother's grave, and his short stint in the Austrian army the following year ended with a nervous breakdown.1 In 1898, Kubin began a period of artistic study at a private academy run by the painter Ludwig Schmitt-Reutte, before enrolling at the Munich Academy in 1899, without finishing his studies there.