January 01, 2010

French anthropologist Roger Caillois quotes "emblema" n. 8 ("Alchemy" cover) on an his old essay.

On a 1965 book about "Fantastic" written by the French anthropologist (and sociologist, writer, intellectual) Roger Caillois (1913-1978), "Au coeur du fantastique" (Editions Gallimard, Paris), the author quotes "Atalanta Fugiens", the ancient text where alchemist designer Dave Loxley took the "Alchemy" front cover. 
About the emblemas included in that book, he writes that the best ones are those "that get attention because their unusual kind of scene symbolized, difficulty or absurdity of the venture, a contemptible or unlikely detail, a dramatic event, a monstrous difference...". 
And, among the best ones, he quotes the emblema n. 8 ("Alchemy" cover design), writing: "the man, very determined, prepares himself to cut with his sword, with an extreme and theatrical gesture, an huge egg, miracously balanced on its tip". 
Interesting that, besides the symbolic meanings of the engraving, the "Alchemy" cover can be interpreted also as an example of "Fantastic" in Art...

no©2010 Luca Ferrari


  1. Hi Luca, I copy and paste a message I received today on the TEB's Facebook fan page: "Mike Marchant R.I.P.
    Mike, one-time member of TEB and writer of the majority of the tracks on 'The Magus', passed away on 13th November 2009. He liaised with Ron Kort in getting The Magus released by Angel Air, and to the end was involved in producing and bringing on younger musicians and bands.
    He was an immensely talented musician, composer and writer, and ran a recording studio in Denmark Road in London for several years.
    Later he did amazing thing with graphic design way before anyone started messing with Photoshop, and then got back into the music production business again
    Just before he died 4 of the tracks he recorded with Pete Newnham and Paul Hammond in the band T.H.E. in '77 were released as part of the 'Bored Teenagers' punk series."

  2. Thanks Mirco,
    I didn't know it. I'm sorry. Another important 'piece' of that glorious story is lost forever now... We can just try to remember to ourself that it has been really a very unique Season of Music...