Michael's Reviews > The Manuscript Found in Saragossa

The Manuscript Found in Saragossa by Jan Potocki
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it was amazing

Pure excellence. Traversing the intricate labyrinth of Potocki's masterpiece is a daunting challenge and will require periods rest during gestation, however the difficulty does not lie in the length of the work's passages, rather in the frequent addition of new voices, perspectives, places, dates (accurate and inaccurate) and relations that sometimes leave you wishing for a character map.

Alas, this book is greatly fulfilling -- every page of this work is guaranteed to produce amusement or provide a field of needed additional research. As Potocki himself was a well travelled polyglot, I found myself requiring additional wikipedia research of the places, lands and regimes he alludes to in what alternates between a biting criticism of the monarchic world and a love song for the bygone era. Potocki puts on display powerful cardinals, magistrates, viceroys and kings who impose their arbitrary rule and rewards for a sense of chivalry strong enough to protect generational mysteries being brought to the light of day.

Written the same year the Napoleonic Code was conferred upon the people of Europe, Potocki's masterwork contains between its frequent allusions of mysticism, astrology, and cabbalism (to name a few) some of the same esprit de corps as Beethoven's heroic masterwork (3rd Symphony). While 1804 was also the year of the invention of the steam locomotive, I hesitate to grant that the geniuses Potocki and Beethoven could anticipate a homogenization of the Old Continent under the bondage of rail lines, however they no doubt sensed it was shrinking.

I have (in the spirit of Potocki) strayed from my point. It is my full intention to, as the characters contained within this manuscript, recount the stories contained within the book's pages. And I will likely be referring back to Potocki's work for the the rest of my life in my attempts to do so.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
May 18, 2011 – Shelved
May 18, 2011 – Finished Reading

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