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Juan Eduardo Cirlot

J.E. CIRLOT (born April 9, 1916) was a Spanish poet, art critic, mythologist, hermeneutist and musician. His best known work in English is his seminal Dictionary of Symbols. Beginning in the 1940s, Cirlot ascribed himself to Surrealism and Dadaism that soon took on a spiritualist tradition of universal longing. His passionate interest in symbology permeated all of his literary activity and work as an art critic. Cirlot was a member of the outlawed Dau al Set "seventh face of the dice" school, and he frequently collaborated with Joan Brossa and Antoni Tàpies. Cirlot conducted comprehensive studies on medieval symbology and hermeneutics, accruing an impressive collection of swords, and his prolific and varied poetic output, more than fifty books, remained independent of the trends that dominated the poetry of the postwar period; nevertheless, his impact has never ceased to be reevaluated through continuous revisions, re-editions, appearances of unpublished works, and tributes. He passed away on May 11, 1973. To the best of our knowledge this is the first time extracts from his journal 88 Dreams have appeared in English.

from 88 Dreams

An immense moon, whose whitish decaying matter is thickly strewn with volcanoes, was quite close to me, surrounded by an absolute darkness. The lower edge of the sphere leaned against my work table.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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