Alfred Kubin The Other Side

ISBN 13: 9780140035940

The Other Side

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9780140035940: The Other Side
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The Other Side tells of a dream kingdom which becomes a nightmare, of a journey to Pearl, a mysterious city created deep in Asia, which is also a journey to the depths of the subconcious, or as Kubin himself called it, 'a sort of Baedeker for those lands which are half known to us'.

Written in 1908, and more or less half way between Meyrink and Kafka, it was greeted with wild enthusiasm by the artists and writers of the Expressionist generation.

' Expressionist illustrator Kubin wrote this fascinating curio, his only literary work in 1908. A town named Pearl, assembled and presided over by the aptly named Patera, is the setting for his hallucinatory vision of a society founded on instinct over reason. Culminating apocalyptically - plagues of insects, mountains of corpses and orgies in the street - it is worth reading for its dizzying surrealism alone. Though ostensibly a gothic macabre fantasy, it is tempting to read The Other Side as a satire on the reactionary, idealist utopianism evident in German thought in the early twentieth century, highly prescient in its gloom, given later developments. The language often suggests Nietsche. The inevitable collapse of Patera's creation is lent added horror by hindsight. Kubin's depiction of absurd bureaucracy is strongly reminiscent of Kafka's The Trial, and his flawed utopia, situated next to a settlement of supposed savages, brings to mind Huxley's Brave New World; it precedes both novels, and this superb new translation could demonstrate its influence on subsequent modern literature.'

Kieron Pim in Time Out

It will appeal to fans of Mervyn Peake and readers who like the darkly decadent, the fantastic and the grotesque in their reading.

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About the Author:

Alfred Kubin (1877-1959) was one of the major graphic artists of the 20th century who was widely known for his illustrations of writers of the fantastic such as Balzac, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Gustav Meyrink and Edgar Allan Poe, of whom he illustrated at least 50 books. In his combination of the darkly decadent, the fantastic and the grotesque, in his evocations of dream and nightmare, his creation of an atmosphere of mystery and fear he resembles Mervyn Peake. The Other Side (1908) is his only work of fiction.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

My poor wife found it impossible to overcome these fits of anxiety. She grew visibly paler, her cheeks more and more sunken, and at every unexpected word I spoke she would give a nervous start. Things could not go on like this much longer, and it was only the fact that I had still not managed to see Patera that delayed our departure. Without his specific permission any thought of leaving the Dream Realm was futile. The Archive contained ten requests I had submitted, but the only replies they deigned to send were a few stilted excuses such as, 'The time in question falls within a period of feriation for the Audience Bureau', or 'The petitioner has repeatedly been advised that a respectable position in society is a sine qua non for the granting of an audience. He is recommended, therefore, to maintain an ordered way of life, the which he should . . .' etc., etc. I was seething, and determined to open my friend's eyes to the harm caused by this pernicious bureaucratic clique. 'They'll be sorry for it!'

There was another thing that weighed against our journey home: Our money was gone! Yes, simply gone! Not a single copper was left from the hundred thousand marks.

'Well, there we have it, I knew it would happen,' I said bitterly to my wife when I found out. It was not really her fault, poor thing, so I spared her any further wailing and gnashing of teeth. Theft or no theft, the money had disappeared and all we had to live on was what I could earn.

This was towards the end of our second year in the Dream Realm. Now my wife began to be tormented by fears during the daytime as well. The kitchen was at the back of our flat and looked out through a window onto the courtyard of the dairy; in the middle was a well-shaft, at the back a few stable doors.

'That well is haunted', she insisted. She claimed she had heard strange hissing and knocking noises. I had noticed nothing, but to keep her happy I decided I should have a look, and so I went. Under the pretence that I wanted to look round the dairy I knocked until a half-deaf dairyman came to the door. A juicy tip quickly cured his dull-wittedness. I could look at whatever I liked, he shouted in my ear, before returning to his cubbyhole. Left to myself, I had no difficulty in setting about my investigation.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781910213032: The Other Side (Dedalus European Classics)

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ISBN 10:  1910213039 ISBN 13:  9781910213032
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Alfred Kubin
Published by Penguin Modern Classics (1973)
ISBN 10: 014003594X ISBN 13: 9780140035940
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