August 24, 2007
Henri Michaux, By Surprise, Hanuman Books
I never noticed the nice paper and foil stamping of this Hanuman Book under its tiny dust jacket. Hanuman publications are truly pocket-friendly at 2-3/4" by 4-1/8".
By Surprise was published in France in 1983, one year before Michaux's death (1899-1984). Randolph Hough translated the book for Hanuman in 1987. It is one of Michaux's many texts on hallucinogenic drugs. I find his "drug books" fascinating because he had been writing hallucinogenic texts since the 1920s, but he didn't try mescaline or any drug like it until 1956.
At age 59 he described his early childhood years:
He avoids life, games, amusements and variation.
Food disgusts him.
His marrow does not make blood.
His blood isn't wild about oxygen.
Dreams, without images without words, motionless.
He dreams of permanence, of perpetuity without change.
His way of existing in the margins, always on strike, is frightening or exasperating.
He's sent to the country."