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The Other Side

The Other Side

By Alfred Kubin
Translated by Mike Mitchell

"The danger of a purely ideological enterprise is exposed in this unusual novel first published in 1908, and which seems now to be horribly prescient about what the Nazis would perpetrate 30 years later. A “dream state” is created, where reason doesn’t matter, only instinct, and its full horrors are realised. Powerful but highly engaging too."―The Sunday Herald

"Kubin wrote a novel, the phantasmagorical The Other Side, (1909), about a dream kingdom dedicated to the rejection of progress - “a place of asylum for those who are disgusted with modern culture.” Much admired by Hermann Hesse and Ernst Jünger, the book is also widely assumed to have influenced Kafka’s The Castle."―Christopher Benfy, The New York Review of Books

"I had ordered a copy of Kubin’s 1908 novel, The Other Side and was looking forward to reading this almost legendary, expressionist masterpiece, a macabre gothic fantasy about a Utopian society based on instinct rather than reason. (I chose Mike Mitchell’s translation, just reissued by England’s Dedalus Books.) Kubin, though, was primarily an artist, and he illustrated many of the visionary works of E.T.A. Hoffmann, Poe and Gustav Meyrink (author of The Golem)."―Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

The Other Side tells of a dream kingdom which becomes a nightmare, of a journey to Pearl, a mysterious city created deep in Asia, which is also a journey to the depths of the subconcious, or as Kubin himself called it, 'a sort of Baedeker for those lands which are half known to us'. 

Written in 1908, and more or less half way between Meyrink and Kafka, it was greeted with wild enthusiasm by the artists and writers of the Expressionist generation. Franz Marc called it a magnificent reckoning with the 19th century and Kandinsky said it was almost a vision of evil, while Lyonel Feininger wrote to Kubin. 'I live much in Pearl, you must have written it and drawn it for me'.

Alfred Kubin (1877-1959) was one of the major graphic artists of the 20th century who was widely known for his illustrations of writers of the fantastic such as Balzac, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Gustav Meyrink and Edgar Allan Poe, of whom he illustrated at least 50 books. In his combination of the darkly decadent, the fantastic and the grotesque, in his evocations of dream and nightmare, his creation of an atmosphere of mystery and fear he resembles Mervyn Peake. The Other Side (1908) is his only work of fiction.

Paperback
252 pages
Original Illustrations by the Author
Dedalus European Classics, 2014
Originally Published in 1909
5.8 x 1 x 7.2 inches
ISBN 9781910213032
Horror, Fantasy, Fiction

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