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A reader’s fictional travel of the artwork and lives of a few of the nice 20th-century Surrealists

An writer (a model of Vila-Matas himself) offers a quick “history” of a mystery society, the Shandies, who're captivated with the concept that of “portable literature.” The society is totally imagined, yet during this rollicking, intellectually playful publication, its individuals contain writers and artists like Marcel Duchamp, Aleister Crowley, Witold Gombrowicz, Federico García Lorca, guy Ray, and Georgia O’Keefe. The Shandies meet secretly in residences, motels, and cafes far and wide Europe to debate what nice literature quite is: short, now not too critical, penetrating the depths of the mysterious. We witness the Shandies having adventures in desk bound submarines, underground caverns, African backwaters, and the cultural capitals of Europe.

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They come they usually ask to accept ladies. Oendé consents to alter the pony right into a girl, and the canine too, and the boys depart. however the lady made up of the pony is a glutton, the girl made up of the canine won’t behave. the 1st girl, the single given by means of Oendé earlier than, is ok: she is the mum of the human race. This legend Cendrars stored to himself, not able to externalize it, simply because, as he used to be completing composing it in his brain, there has been a knock on the door. Salvador Dalí got here in visibly excited, followed by way of Nezval and Teige, younger Czech poets who desired to subscribe to the key society. to pass judgement on through their radical, brilliant gazes, those poets have been very high-spirited bachelor machines. Their eyes have been like hugely illuminated, terribly gentle suitcases. looking forward to the overall sentiment, black Virgil commented that he couldn’t glance the 2 Czechs within the eye simply because they have been so striking. Teige hastened to assert, certainly, it used to be precise, and there has been an easy rationalization: their eyes have been an everlasting homage to Edison, the inventor of the sunshine bulb. He then gave the ground to his colleague Nezval to announce, very emphatically, that from that second on, for them, the sexual popularity of girls will be in accordance with their spectral skill and assets, that's, on their power dissociation, their separate carnality and luminosity. The spectral lady, he concluded, would be the girl that may be dismantled. Teige took the ground back, displaying himself to be a innovative Shandy via the truth that he was once altogether conscious of the moveable Odradek-golem mystery. He observed Prague’s surprisingly hot air and of the presence within the urban of a few bizarre beings, quiet creatures pretending to sleep so not anyone could become aware of their misleading, opposed selves. those, he stated, got here out whilst Prague’s evening mist coated the streets, obscuring their quiet, slightly perceptible, back-and-forth gesturing and posturing: they have been as profoundly darkish because the spongy flesh of zombies. also, he concluded, those golems have been relentlessly hunted through their very own “Bucharesters”: beings from Romania and negative kin of count number Dracula. Cendrars, who had listened in his personal way—that is, distractedly—to the 2 Czech poets, then interceded to provide Nezval a pint of shandy with ice, while telling him that, from his description of the girl who should be dismantled, he’d get a hold of a Zulu legend, “The Black Specter”: as soon as upon a time, the wind was once someone, particularly, a specter, till she become a feathered being. simply because she may well not stroll, she flew. certainly, flying, she lived at the mountainside. as soon as upon a time, she was once a black specter, and that's why—once upon a time—she killed missionaries. later on, she become a feathered being, and from then on she flew and lived in a collapse the mountain. She is going to sleep there, wakes early and leaves; she flies distant; day after today, back, she flies far-off. She comes again to her domestic simply because she feels the necessity for sustenance.

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