This pataphysical journey up a mountain whose summit must be inaccessible, but its base accessible to human beings depicts an allegorical landscape akin to Alice in Wonderland
A beloved cult classic of surrealism, pataphysics and Gurdjieffian mysticism, René Daumal’s Mount Analogue is the allegorical tale of an expedition to a mountain whose existence can only be deduced, not observed. As its numerous editions (most now rare) over the decades attest, the book has been highly influential: Alejandro Jodorowsky’s visionary 1973 film The Holy Mountain is a loose adaptation of the book, and John Zorn based an eponymous album on it.
This edition, a gorgeous addition to the Exact Change list, brings the original 1959 English translation by Roger Shattuck–widely considered the best–back into print.
Left unfinished after Daumal’s death from tuberculosis in 1944–in mid-sentence, as he broke from writing to receive a visitor– Mount Analogue offers a compelling and philosophically resonant chronicle of a group of travelers seeking the titular mountain, based on the symbolic calculations of one Father Sogol (“Logos” spelled backward) and his students. As Daumal writes, “Mount Analogue is the symbolic mountain–the way that unites Heaven and Earth, a way which must exist in material and human form, otherwise our situation would be without hope.”