This intriguing, para-Surrealist, novel is about the adventures, and self development, to be found in mountain climbing. It’s summit strange and alpine allegorical and has inspired a bizarre cult-film and a number of non-conventional paintings! With all this under its belt, we can only imagine what peaks it would have reached if it was completed!
That’s right, author René Daumal died before he could complete Mount Analogue: A Novel of Symbolically Authentic Non-Euclidean Adventures in Mountain Climbing. I’m sure you can still sense the presence of Daumal when reading the text, given that the writer worked on it (his best known book) till the very last moment!
Only one chapter was left. Perhaps the title of this missing chapter, “And You, What Do You Seek?”, is an adequate enough end, allowing the reader the blank pages of the empty chapter, and clear space atop the imagined mountain, to reflect on what they seek.
The paintings above are by Remedios Varo, a Spanish-Mexican para-surrealist painter, which were used in the first edition of Daumal’s novel. Though they aren’t works ‘inspired by’, they are born of the same artistic movement. The film below however was inspired by the book with the fantastic name.
The Holy Mountain which directed by Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, was funded by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, produced by The Beatles manager, and almost started George Harrison!
The above version (front cover depicting a man with a third eye) of the 1952 book is the edition found at the famous City Lights bookstore in San Francisco.If anyone has photos, memories and the drive to write a article for Locations, it would be great to showcase this amazing bookstore!