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The Cloak of Dreams:
Chinese Fairy Tales
Béla Balázs
Translated and introduced by Jack Zipes
Illustrated by Mariette Lydis

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]

ADDITIONAL REVIEWS:

"[A] highly informative introduction to the present work by its translator, the university professor and fairy-tale specialist Jack Zipes, who has clearly moved beyond his speciality and gained great insight into Hungary's pre-1919 circles of radical artists and social critics, of which both Balázs and Lukács were members. He explains how the writing of this collection of Chinese-style tales was not something out of the ordinary on the part of Balázs, but rather dovetailed quite neatly with his search for meaning in life (and death), his belief in the power and imagery of folk tales and his attraction, albeit not conversion, to Taoism."--Bob Dent, Budapest Times

"Brought out in the Oddly Modern Fairy Tales series, this lovely volume is as wonderful to hold and behold as it is to read. . . . The tales reflect Balazs's growing interest in communism and Taoism and, as Zipes notes, Balazs's 'profound personal concerns about friendship, alienation, poetry, transformation, and transcendence.'"--Choice

"This is a very interesting and unusual book and will be of interest to a variety of readers."--James H. Grayson, Folklore

ENDORSEMENTS:

"A splendid modern work. . . . What baroque dreams, grotesque scenes, ghostly, ridiculous, strange, and chilling brainstorms!. . . All of this is remarkable, original, and uncanny. . . . I recommend that readers go and find some good time to spend with this beautiful book."--Thomas Mann

"Flirting with aestheticism and exoticism, Béla Balázs's fairy tales draw their power from an oracular voice that traces paths of desire, dread, rapture, and sorrow. A master stylist, Balázs puts us in touch with the sublime through velvety prose that mimics the brush strokes of master calligraphers. Jack Zipes's introduction tells its own fascinating tale about how a Hungarian writer and intellectual found redemption in fairy tales."--Maria Tatar, author of Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood

"These fairy tales are wonderful, touching, and fantastic--you can feel the giddy liberty Balázs gave himself in writing them. I enthusiastically recommend them to anyone who can still feel the pleasure of being kidnapped by fantasy and being taken away to a land that is both vividly colored and intellectually curious. The collection is a delight and Jack Zipes's introduction is splendid."--Andrei Codrescu, author of The Posthuman Dada Guide

"This translation of what Thomas Mann called a 'beautiful book' will enchant readers. Balázs creates a world of dreams in which the alienation of man from woman and soul from body is imaginatively overcome."--Lee Congdon, James Madison University

"A poet in many genres--verse, drama, short stories, tales, novels, diaries, memoirs, philosophy, films, and film theory--Béla Balázs was one of the great dreamers of Hungary's sensational fin-de-siècle generation. His long journey from Szeged, Hungary led him through Budapest, Vienna, Berlin, and Moscow, and back to Budapest. These Chinese fairy tales reflect Balázs's wisdom, his powers of visual imagery, psychological insight, and playfulness."--Tibor Frank, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest

"An astonishing find that deserves to be brought to light. The translations are beautifully poetic and a joy to read."--Anton Kaes, University of California, Berkeley

"These wonderful and bizarre tales are at once complex and simple. I found myself rereading several and discovering each time some new and wondrous twist and detail."--Nora M. Alter, Temple University

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File created: 4/17/2014

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