Louche Lad (bombasticus) wrote,
Louche Lad


We've been "serious" about the Bollingen series since June 2009, when Princeton was dumping Samothrace 11 and the boundaries became visible. In theory, there are only 100 numbers like allegories to represent the world stretching from the Navaho warrior songs collected near my home town as the boys went off on the big Pacific adventure (When The Two Came To Their Father) to one of Joseph Campbell's thicker reveries three decades later. Roll them all up and you have the canons of a certain vector on the soul, a kind of ark or repository of symbol systems.

In practice of course, it's rarely so simple. Several of those volumes open up into a staggering number of secondary publications and some, like the Samothrace excavation record that got things moving in the first place, are still alive and sprouting new installments every few years or decades. They're on their third publisher in 60 years, which isn't bad I guess. I have been promised that they are serious about finishing it one day, even if the people currently assigned to the missing volumes die along the way. There are back-up plans, contingencies.

Otherwise, we are practically done, with a few practical exclusions and trivial omissions. I focused on religion, mythology, psychology and art, bypassing most of the purely literary numbers as peripheral to the main thrust of the series. We have the complete Jung, for example, and not the complete Coleridge or Valery, selected Unamuno, assorted St John Perse or most of the Eugene Onegin . . . although I do price the Coleridge from time to time when a different project rises to the surface. I'm pleased to say that they're all HC and about 90% in DJ, with the major exceptions being extremely rare in any state.

We are still getting the Mellon Lectures (Bollingen XXXV) as they emerge. They're handsome volumes. But at this point they've also spun out into a completely different project in their own right, a parallel tree of knowledge.

Having climbed this mountain the real question is how we construct a new one on its summit. We're at best halfway to the sky. We can do better. We have new tools and new techniques. It's going to be fun.

The other things I was buying in 2009 are funny and representative of a strategic pivot: Rene Le Forestier, an England's Hidden Reverse that mysteriously never arrived ($28 plus shipping), Daniel Gunther's first book ditto "mysteriously," Georg Laue, Alice Bertha Gomme, Edward Armstrong's Folklore of Birds. It was the year after the crash and my lungs were filling up fast, the year before we left the city and finally started inching into the forest. And so here we are here again.


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