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Translated and introduced by John Walker, afterword by Alastair Brotchie.
Foreword by Italo Calvino, translated by Martin McLaughlin.
In Manganelli’s innumerable universes, beyond the gods we know or suspect we know is an endless array of other gods. Everything that is seemingly finite or known in our world becomes infinite and unknown. We die, we find ourselves among the other dead, and we die again, only to find ourselves somewhere even more unknown and with death still awaiting. We are both monarch and victim in a gothic simulation illuminated by sombre flashes of sardonic rhetoric that reveal only an astounding desolate wreck. Something of this landscape’s significance can be inferred from Manganelli’s manifesto “Literature as Deception” (1967), which elucidates the author’s notions of the literary “object”, whose devious nature is embodied and mirrored in the elaborate “lies” he constructs here in a style even more lush than the English Romantics he so admired. Manganelli’s paradoxically optimistic fatalism is founded upon a defiance of all the gods — in the knowledge that when they too perish, we are fated to invent others to replace them.
Giorgio Manganelli (1922-1990) is a writer almost unknown in English. He was a central member, with the likes of Eco and Sanguineti, of the Italian avant-garde Gruppo 63, named after its date of formation, and one of the editors of its collective publications. Ever the awkward member of this squad, his writing was greatly admired by Calvino. Manganelli’s theoretical and creative works are deeply intertwined and never more so than with his notorious manifesto (also translated here), which, so it seems, underpins the entire book in a wholly unexpected and original way.
Atlas Anti-classic 24.