"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, Bela Balazs's fairy tales draw their power from an oracular voice that traces paths of desire, dread, rapture, and sorrow, A master stylist, Balazs 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 Balazs 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 Post-human Dada Guide.
"This translation of what Thomas Mann called a `beautiful book' will enchant readers. Balazs 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 poer in many genres---verse, drama, short stories, tales, novels, diaries, memoirs, philosophy, films, and film theory---Bela Balazs was one of the great dreamers of Hungary's sensational fin-de-siede generation. His long journey from Szeged. Hungary, led him through Budapest, Vienna, Berlin, and Moscow, and back to Budapest. These Chinese fairy tales reflect Balazs's wisdom, his powers of visual imagery, psychological insight, and playfulness."---Tibor Frank, Eotvos Lorand 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."---Noram. Alter, Temple University
A man is changed into a flea and must bring his future parents together in order to become human again. A woman convinces a river god to cure her sick son, but the remedy has mixed consequences. A young man must choose whether to be close to his wife's soul or body. And two deaf mutes transcend their physical existence in the garden of dreams. Strange and fantastical, these fairy tales of Bela Balazs (1884-1949), Hungarian writer, film critic, and famous librettist of Bluebeard's Castle, reflect his profound interest in friendship, alienation, and Taoist philosophy. Translated and introduced by Jack Zipes, one of the world's leading authorities on fairy tales, The Cloak of Dreams brings together sixteen of Balazs's unique and haunting stories.
Written in 1921, these fairy tales were originally published with twenty images drawn in the Chinese style by painter Mariette Lydis, and this new edition includes a selection of Lydis's brilliant illustrations. Together, the tales and pictures accentuate the motifs and themes that run throughout Balazs's work: wandering protagonists, mysterious woods and mountains, solitude, and magical transformation. His fairy tales express our deepest desires and the hope that, even in the midst of tragedy, we can transcend our difficulties and forge our own destinies.
Unusual, wondrous fairy tales that examine the world's cruelties and twists of fate, The Cloak of Dreams will entertain, startle, and intrigue.