Mont Analogue, l’immortalità di un libro: i nuovi eredi


A fine Agosto il giornale francese Le Monde ha pubblicato sei articoli su Monte Analogue, il romanzo di Daumal che ha ispirato il nome della nostra associazione.

Abbiamo deciso di pubblicarli uno per volta, con la traduzione in inglese di ognuno.

Il primo articolo è La vertiginosa eredità di un romanzo incompiuto. Quante persone ci sono, nel mondo, che sono tuttora influenzate da questo romanzo? In che modo Daumal è capace ancora oggi, nel 2021, di parlare ai contemporanei e di essere al fianco delle nuove generazioni che crescono leggendolo e amandolo?

Credo sia un po’ la solita storia: è un classico, e da tale è immortale. La bellezza dei libri che trascendono il concetto di temporalità ed epoca, è che riescono a essere percepiti come contemporanei da varie generazioni.

Mont Analogue è stato pubblicato per la prima volta del 52: questo signfiica che più di tre generazioni, ormai hanno avuto modo di crescere leggendolo. Viene spesso considerato un libro per ragazzi, vista la sua natura di romanzo d’avventura, ma in realtà è un romanzo filosofico e simbolico. E come capita con tutti i classici, lo si può leggere a qualunque età, e riuscirà sempre a far riflettere e insegnare qualcosa al lettore.

L’articolo di cui vi lasciamo la traduzione qua sotto parla proprio dell’eredità che il romanzo ha lasciato in Franca – e nel mondo: parla di persone rimaste talmente affascinate dalla natura poliedrica del libro che hanno voluto rendergli omaggio.


At the end of August, the French newspaper Le Monde has published six articles on Mont Analogue, René Daumal’s novel which our Organization was named after.

The Team of Monteanalogo has therefore decided to republish them, with an English traslation of every one of the articles.

The first one is titled The vertiginous inheritance of an unfinished novel. How many people have the novel  influenced since its publication? In which way is Daumal still capable of speaking and raising new generations who grow up reading his book?

It’s the same old story: it’s a classic, which means it’s immortal. Classics go beyond the concept of time or age, they can be perceived as modern by every generation.

Mont Analogue has been first published in 1952, which means that more than three generations have been grown up reading it. It is indeed often labeled as a young adult adventure book, but its real core is symbolic and philosophical. And as per its classical nature, it can be read at every age, and it will still speak to the reader, giving them new knowledge and idea to think about.

The article of which we will provide you the English translation is about the inheritance that the novel has left in France – and around the world too: it’s about people so much bewitched by the multifaceted nature of the novel that they wanted to pay tribute to it.

The vertiginous inheritance of an unfinished novel.

These days, L’Impossible is drifting along the French Riviera. On board, a 37-year-old plastic artist, Antoine Proux. On the white sail, he wrote, in black letters: “And you, what are you looking for?”- a reference to the title of the last chapter of Mont Analogue, book unfinished by René Daumal (19/08/1944).

Published in 1952, it tells of the expedition of a group of scholars towards a mysterious mountain, connecting Earth and Heaven, the base of which is accessible and the summit inaccessible. This is not the first tribute that Antoine Proux pays to this novel, as short as it is unknown. In Paris, where he has settled, the Creusois recycles wine bottles on which he always affixes the same stamp: “René Daumal”. Before leaving them discreetly in supermarkets, museums …

Even though not to the same point, there is also the Bourse de Commerce, where industrialist François Pinault opened a contemporary art museum at the end of May. At the top of the Medici column, attached to the building, a projector spreads its glow over Paris: it is a “luminous translation” of Mont Analogue, arranged by another plastic artist, Philippe Parreno, 57 years old. Nearly 5,000 colours, spinning 31 meters high: the Eiffel Tower better watch out.

What a flagship book this is, shining in more and more heterogeneous circles. From artists, mountaineers, scientists or politicians pass it on like a grigri, margins up to institutions. If in France there are only two streets and one square named after René Daumal, winks abound abroad: Mont Analogue is the name of a record store in Los Angeles, a film dealer in Sydney, a production company in Berlin, mountaineering clubs in Trieste or Mexico, a school in Minneapolis, publishing houses in Stockholm or Seattle … “Even without wanting to, we always leave traces, anticipated Daumal. Respond to your footsteps in front of your fellows. “

You will find this imprint as far as Champcella, in the Hautes-Alpes. On August 21, at 9:30 a.m., the town will inaugurate a terminal symbolizing the distance that separates it from Mount Analogue, estimated at 16,248 kilometres. Afterwards, its creator, the ceramicist Virgile Loyer, 46, will participate in a “round and square table” around Daumal. By his side, the ethnobiologist Nicolas Césard, 45 years old; mountaineer Bernard Amy, 81; documentary filmmaker and beekeeper Laurent Védrine, 45 years old. The latter is the leader of a “relief expedition to Mount Analogue,” as he calls the odd role-playing game he engages in with a dozen friends.

This is the book I gave as a gift the most

December 22, 2019: following a party farewell in the Parisian suburbs, the friends sought after the end of Daumal’s novel. They saw each other, sometimes; have often written to each other; over-thought – not too bad of a thing; created, a little. So far, none have really come back. “For a moment, my 13-year-old son thought I was really gone, I had to reassure him”, admits Laurent Védrine. For his imaginary equipment, he collected prestigious sponsorships, from the physicist Etienne Klein to the landscaper Gilles Clément, all Daumal enthusiasts. As for the sponsors, on the other hand, it has been a shambles. “The Old Camper had promised us freeze-dried rations… They never arrived”, grumbled the fellow under his breath.

Boris Bergmann was more successful. With the enthusiasm of his 29 years, this writer convinced the Luma Foundation to finance a reissue of Mont Analogue, augmented with texts, photos, drawings…

It will appear on October 14, at Gallimard. Contents of this great book are beautiful people: the rocker Patti Smith or the ci-neo-maker Alejandro Jodorowsky. Most of them will take part in the Mont Analogues exhibition, from September 17 to December 23, at the Regional Contemporary Art Fund in Champagne-Ardenne, in Reims, where Daumal grew up. Boris Bergmann will be one of the commissioners.

To explain why this book is magnetic and stabilized fro so many collectives, he quotes one of his favourite passages: “Because we are two, everything changes; task doesn’t get twice as easy, no: impossible it becomes possible“. He discovered Le Mont Analogue around the age of 14 or 15, on the advice of a friend, the writer Mathieu Terence. “This is the book that I gave as a gift the most“, continues the one who devoted his dissertation to him, subtitled “From the unfinished to the infinite“. “I spend quite a lot for Mount Analogue, I gift three or four copies of it per month”, adds Laurent Védrine.

At Allia, where the novel was republished in January 2020, there have sold more than 4,000 copies. “An honourable result for a book of which there are already other editions“, pleasingly said Danielle Orhan, director of editions. The Reims exhibition is the first ever dedicated to Daumal. His name had certainly appeared on other routes, in Le Havre in 1980, or at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris in 1992. But these celebrated the Great Game, a rival group of surrealism, which Daumal had briefly and brilliantly hosted with three high school friends. So, Boris Bergmann went out of his way. He has invited artists of all pedigree, approached the writer’s heirs, assembled a host of archives.

The manuscript

The manuscript of Mount Analogue is the only one that has escaped. He sleeps in a valley in Piedmont, in northern Italy, with Claudio Rugafiori, who intends to bequeath it to the Parisian library Jacques Doucet, upon his death. It is to this 83-year-old scholar that we owe the reference editions of the novel, on both sides of the Alps. “I discovered Daumal in a bookstore in Lausanne, I was 13-14 years old; like a good asthmatic, I was a big reader, testifies the Italian. The evidence of his genius jumped out at me“.

William Marx, 54-year-old, read it during his high school years. Holder of the chair of comparative literatures at the Collège de France, it is hardly surprising that this novel has raised so many children.

Daumal is one of those eternally young authors who was able to keep the humour and the seriousness of adolescence. The incompletion of the novel appears to be a pledge of sincerity“.

To refer to his secret, almost mystical, network of readers, he compares it to the Fellowship of the Ring – “even though Daumal is far less heavy than Tolkien“. The trail deserves to be dug: what if the posterity of the book was due to its ability “to establish new links between ideas of completely disparate matters“, as Daumal describes one of the heroes? Genius of analogy, this art of mixing up topics: “The door to the invisible”, he added, “must be visible”.

HERE you can read the original article in French.

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