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The Man of Jasmine & Other Texts
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The Man of Jasmine & Other Texts

4.38 of 5 stars 4.38  ·  rating details  ·  94 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In 1970, Unica Zurn, the companion and lover of the Surrealist artist Hans Bellmer, threw herself from the sixth floor window of their apartment in Paris. Her suicide was the culmination of thirteen years of mental crises which are described with disarming lucidity in The Man Of Jasmine, subtitled Impressions from a Mental Illness. Zurn's mental collapse was initiated when ...more
Paperback, 199 pages
Published December 1st 1994 by Serpent's Tail (first published January 1st 1971)
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Nov 12, 2012 knig rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to knig by: NateD
Shelves: 2012, disturbia
The Man of Jasmine is an autobiography, but highly stylised. And because Unica Zurn mingled with a surrealist crowd in the 1940s and 50s, (Ray, Michaeux, Ernst) as a result both of her liaison with Hans Bellmer and also her anagram poetry and automatic painting, its real easy to fall prey to contra-Fundamental Attribution Error (which here means overvaluing the situational status quo vs personal attributes) and assume Zurn is engaged in surrealistic existential angst, buoyed by her well document ...more
Eddie Watkins
All of these “texts” revolve around Unica Zurn’s obsession with “The Man of Jasmine”. She first encountered him among jasmine flowers in a garden vision after fleeing her mother’s revolting folds of flesh. To young Unica he was the pinnacle of love and she secretly married him. For the remainder of her life he alternately haunted and solaced her, a vision of purity leading her to heights of joy, then over the edge into depression. In her obsessive imagination he became linked with Herman Melvill ...more
Nate D
Even better than her semi-autobiographical tale of almost-pre-teen-angst, Dark Spring, Unica Zurn's more overtly autiobiographical account of her years of battling what seems like a kind of severe bipolar disorder is somehow both more real and far more surreal, as she meticulously documents both the strange and captivating visions and thought so of her elevated moods along with the crippling stasis and boredom of her hospitalizations during the depressive stretches. Along the way, the terribly r ...more
Un relato de los abismos de la locura; una pluma maldita, loca, triste y dolorosa. Probablemente uno de los libros más duros y escalofriantes que he leído este año.
"[el hombre Jazmín]la vieja visión que en los momentos de mayor necesidad entró en su niñez como un gran ejemplo para salvarla del mundo de los mayores, incomprensible y sospechoso."
For those who don't know, Unica Zürn was a surrealist luminary who dated Hans Bellmer and who had a psychotic break when she met Henri Michaux. Michaux reminded her of "The Man of Jasmine," a fictional character she "married" when she was six. Two of the stories in this book document her mental break and, damn, it's intense.

She's not the most beautiful of writers, and honestly, the prose is fairly pedestrian (is it the translation?) but what she has to say, how she documents her falls from "norm
Nicholaus Patnaude
When The Man of Jasmine grows leather wings, the magic sparkling sands in his sack can tie the night back together once again.
I'm reading this in French. This book is the easiest way to find out how it feels to be a schizophrenic hallucinating woman in the 20th century. Unica Zurn was Hans Bellmer's partner for years.
Intense and disturbing recollection of mental collapse.. beautiful, surreal moments mixed with a cold clinical style...not for the faint of heart..will never think of sewing machines in the same light again..
The best introduction to Zurn's work. Worth reading for lovers of Henri Michaux, too --he was, Zurn believed, the Man of Jasmine, a figure of whom she'd dreamed ever since childhood.
Oh, this is one of the most important books in the world to me.
A cause of great shifts in how I think about language/hidden messages in the everyday
If you want disturbing.....but from an authentic and rare voice.
Unica Zurn was a singular talent.
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Unica Zürn was a German author and painter. She is remembered for her works of anagram poetry, exhibitions of automatic drawing, and her photographic collaborations with Hans Bellmer.
More about Unica Zürn...
Dark Spring The House of Illnesses Unica Zurn: Alben Mörk vår & Jasminmannen El trapecio del destino y otros cuentos

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“Large shapes — like wings — float up to her, opening and closing — gently at first — until they slowly fill the room and she has the impression that she is in the presence of apparitions which are not at all related to this world. None of her acquaintances has ever mentioned similar apparitions to her. These beings — she can not describe them in any other way, reveal that they have the clear and frightening intention of encircling her. They exude a feeling of dissipation, of annihilation, and her forgotten childhood fear of the horrible and inexplicable returns to her. Whenever these birdless, greyish-black wings fly up too close to her, she raises her hand in a sudden anxiety and fends them off. They retreat for a moment into the background of the dark room, then approach once again, and slowly she gets used to this strange presence until she notices that the wings are insubstantial and can fly straight through her upright body, as if she herself had become bodiless. This both entrances and appalls her. Looking at them carefully, these creatures have in fact nothing terrifying about them — they lack eyes and faces, and they radiate an enormous dignity, an uncanny seriousness, something very noble.” 1 likes
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