Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mundus vult decipi

A smart comment by madawaskan at Althouse reminded me of this:
which is the emblem of Dom Manuel, the central figure of "The Biography of the Life of Manuel," a series of novels by James Branch Cabell. The Latin means "The world wants to be deceived."

Or as Joni Mitchell said,

The last time I saw Richard was Detroit in '68,
And he told me: "All romantics meet the same fate someday.
"Cynical and drunk and boring someone in some dark cafe.
"You laugh," he said, "You think you're immune,
"Go look at your eyes, they're full of moon.
"You like roses and kisses and pretty men to tell you
"All those pretty lies, pretty lies.
"When are you gonna realize they're only pretty lies?
"Only pretty lies, just pretty lies?"
We've elected a sweet-talkin' ladies' man, and have to hope it does not "come down to smoke and ash."

Literary notes: Jurgen, the best-remembered volume of the Biography, is available on line, with illustrations, from the University of Virginia. Figures of Earth, in which Manuel is the protagonist, is available from Project Gutenberg, as is Jurgen, in Gutenberg's usual text-only format. Some more Cabell links at Virginia Commonwealth University.

This post gets an "SF" tag because I don't want to have separate tags for fantasy and science fiction. Cabell is not a science-fiction writer.

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