In 1919 a mysterious, semi-autobiographical book was published by the wealthy socialite and Dadaist film maker, Irène Hillel-Erlanger. The title of this riveting surrealist adventure was Voyages en Kaléidoscope. Voyages can be translated as trips, travels, journeys, or even visions, as will be clarified later. We have nevertheless decided in favour of using the word ‘voyages’ in this English translation as well because the figurative use of the word, as in a ‘spiritual voyage’ or a ‘voyage of self-discovery’, aligns well with the voyage the reader may embark upon within the pages of this book.
During this journey the reader will follow the trials and tribulations of a brilliant inventor who came up with a device called the Kaleidoscope. This strange device enabled the inventor to uncover the hidden nature of the universe and the underlying structure of matter. The device would also receive the electromagnetic brain waves of people and then project, like film on a screen, the true nature of that which animated them.
One of the most infamous elements in the book is a diagram of a mysterious thermometer, presented in jest and with a humorous description of every day conventions. Some believe this image, together with the avant-garde and surreal prose of the book, forms a delicately woven veil beneath which a profound alchemical tract lies hidden. Most certainly standing out and referenced within the pages of the book are links to the alchemical scene of its time. The preface to the book show that this goes further than the mere presence of the four loosely drawn elemental symbols on the book’s cover.
Some have claimed Voyages in Kaleidoscope had to disappear because Fulcanelli ascribed great alchemical importance to the book. Whether one believes this or not, this anachronistic little novel can be enjoyed for its strange poetic vibe and tantalising kaleidoscope of images. This book offers the reader a unique view on life; perceived, as if through stained glass windows or through kaleidoscopes.
The author of the book, Irène Hillel-Erlanger, was born on June 30, 1878 and died in March 1920 shortly after publication of Voyages. The rather strange turn of events that surrounded the publication is something the preface of the book will expound upon. Irène Hillel-Erlanger was a screen writer, film director, poet and literary innovator. Surprisingly, she is almost unknown to the English speaking world. In 1902 she married Camille Erlanger, a celebrated composer. She had many friends in the occult and artistic community of Paris including composer Eric Satie, poet Jean Cocteau and composer Claude Debussy. She was involved in the Golden Dawn and maintained contact with the notorious Black Cat Group in Montmartre of which Fulcanelli speaks so fondly. She launched a film production company with another film maker, her partner and lover Germaine Dulac. This was the first woman-owned film production company in the history of cinema: Films DH.
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Legendary Edition: (5 pieces)
|Title:||Voyages in Kaleidoscope|
|Translator:||R. Boucher, Moreh|
|Publisher:||Inner Garden Press|
|Pub. date:||September 2015|
|Binding:||Finest quality Harmatan, naturally tanned leather, both base and onlay|
|Gilding:||Three layers 24K gold|
|Doublure:||Leather onlay and gilded edge|
|Sewing:||Recessed on 4 cords|
|Paper:||Arches 130 gsm, 100% cotton|
|Layout:||Van der Graaf|
|Case:||Half-leather clamshell, Payhembury hand-marbled paper, waxed|
|Certification:||Page V, handnumbered and certified with editor's embossing stamp and mark of the Green Guild|
|Stockists:||Inner Garden Press|
|Delivery:||8 months + shipping|
|For a glance at the contents, layout and typesetting of the book click below link and download a section in pdf: