Illuminations by Alan Moore, translated from English by Claire Kreutzberger, Bragelonne, 518 pp, €28, digital €13.
The beautiful cover says it all from the start: a dense sprinkling of pale, glowing letters raging in the depths of an impenetrable night. So that’s going to be the question here, with theselighting, of the heavenly unfolding of narrative pyrotechnics, of messages traced on the nightboard, of progressing into a phantom squadron of fantastic, uncanny, or wonderful stories. Nine texts written between 1987 and 2021, which, with their Rimbaldian title (a term that was also English for Verlaine), best illustrate the art “wonderful pictures”a secret science of poetic vision, the most learned custodian of which is the English comic writer, novelist, short story writer Alan Moore, along with his compatriot Neil Gaiman.
Born in Northampton in 1953, the amazing, experimental originator of the comic strip – v for Vendetta (1982-1985), Guards (1986-1987), Prometheus (1999-2005)… –Alan Moore worked to revive the old classics of the genre (swamp thing, 1983-1987), along with designer Eddie Campbell, provided a stunning vision of the Jack the Ripper case (From hell1991-1998), paying homage to Vernie and the Anglo-Saxon adventure story in the style of a group of superheroes (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen1999-2003).
Finally, an expert in magical practice, he also became one of the British titans of the romantic imagination. A place that earned him the role of Bard of Northampton, legendary archivist and scholar of his hometown, whose historical layers he explored twice in the depths of time: with The voice of fire (1996; Calmann-Lévy, 2008), and especially in this monument, which is Jerusalem (2016; Inculte, 2017), a transhistorical apotheosis of a city that, mixing all social classes at all times, makes its city the eye of Britain’s historical cyclone.
Legendary American Comic Book History
Lighting departs significantly from Northampton’s imaginative exegesis to experiment with literary possibilities, using different modes of writing (from literary essay to cosmogonic vision, from gothic tale to community art epic), playing with all formats (from short story to novel, as evidenced by the collection’s seventh text 260 pages). If the first story “The Hypothetical Lizard” (1987) works on the love of witches and “identity theft”the hiatus concludes with the second, Not Even From Legends (2020), featuring a gathering of paranormal enthusiasts Fortean (according to the writer Charles Hoy Fort, who was interested in these phenomena) infiltrated a swarm of aliens. “Charming House in a Great Setting” (2020) merges John’s apocalypse with the connection of a real estate agent’s visit, while “Cold Reading” (2009) turns out to be “ghost story” classic but surprisingly effective. State of Indescribable High Energy (2019) is an incredible narrative feat that, following physicist Ludwig Boltzmann’s theses, explores the idea of an intelligent primordial chaos in which countless compressed events unfold in a “femtosecond” beginning. from the universe; the short story “Illuminations”, inspired by a failed vacation, focuses on the perilous pilgrimage in the family albums, as well as the narrator’s summer memories.
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