This novel, with its appetizing title, is a brief-but-heavy excursion into and out of history. The prologue takes place in a commandery of the Knights Templar mere days before their arrest by the French authorities. But the story proper occurs in some sort of bardo inhabited by the disembodied “breaths” of Jacques de Molay, Theresa d’Avila, Friederich Nietzsche, and others.
The prose alternates between wild philosophical speculation and striking sensuous image. Klossowski uses the narrative form to advance the most original metaphysical notions that I have encountered in a good long while. He acknowledges the Gnostic notions of metempsychosis, Christian eschatological resurrection, and Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence, and comes up with a component that they all missed.
I don’t wish to say any more for a text that, in able translation, speaks so well for itself. Hail to the Prince of Modifications! [via]
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