Passing the threshold.

Manuel Álvarez Bravo, sans titre, from André Breton’s collection

Manuel Álvarez Bravo, sans titre
(photograph from André Breton’s collection).

You’re leaving your house every morning, light-hearted, untroubled, unaware that the small step across the threshold might entail any hazards. If you don’t want this to change, stop reading.

Stop right here, right now.

[…] the most dangerous moment of the day is when you open the door in the morning. Indeed, the house was closed off all night; it was isolated from the rest of the world, from the free-floating air, from the cold, from light. The door was like a watertight lock sealing the threshold. You should therefore open it with infinite care, slowly, inching your way forward, avoiding to cause the slightest current of air. As soon as it stands wide open, you should spit onto the gaping aperture, constantly murmuring soothing words, and eventually, with the greatest ease, pass the threshold while firmly looking ahead.

Passage from a dictionary entry on threshold, composed by French anthropologist Marcel Griaule and published in Documents, the journal run by “dissident” Surrealist Georges Bataille in 1929/30.

Don’t say no one has warned you. Reading this, you just passed the threshold. Congratulations, you’re brave and your curiosity led you to increasing your knowledge. You might even smile or shake your head in disbelief. But you’ll pay the price. Tomorrow I’ll catch you carefully sneaking out your front door, holding your breath, surreptitiously glancing around.

2 thoughts on “Passing the threshold.

  1. A posting on surrealism and a good one at that. The danger of passing the threshold–perhaps that explains the strong bouts of agoraphobia that afflict me, keep me inside for days sometimes. Writing, cooped up in my office, like I’m trying to divine a way out of the mental labyrinth I find myself in. I’m a big fan of the surrealists and their little brothers and sisters of dada. I wrote an homage of surrealism called “Surrealist World” that you might find amusing (it’s on my blog). Hope you enjoy it and thanks for the post…

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