Ripellino’s Magic Prague is a dense and magical foray into the altered state of consciousness that is Prague. Ripellino slips into the style of melodrama and ghost stories as he writes of the time of Rudolf II, the alchemists, the Jewish Quarter, the Golem, the pubs, the funereal malevolence of its architecture, of Holan and Kafka, of Meyrink and the Czech Dadaists.
Anyone who has ever visited Prague, also known as the Golden City of a 100 Ppires must have had an inkling deep in their soul of what the author has magnificently put down in words. Author Ripellino has amassed a tribute to Prague like no other ever before set to paper. The author mystically blends artistic, literary, political, and alchemical history into this manuscript a manuscript you will not be able to put down.
Taking us on a whirlwind journey from one extraordinary Prague tale to another, this book includes legend, myth, and reality all melting into one pot of Bohemian magic.
Now when you visit the Prague Castle, Mala Strana or the Jewish cemetery, you will be able to feel the ghosts of the past come alive.
Originally published in Italy in 1973, the book is marked by sadness for the events of the Prague Spring: “My friends have been pressing me to finish this pot-pourri, hoping it will rekindle the memory of a betrayed country without hope.”
This is one of those books you really must read.
A reviewer shares: “The late Mr. Ripellino has amassed a tribute to Prague like no other. It breathes. Anyone that has ever visited the “Golden City of a 100 spires” must have had an inkling deep in their soul of what the author has magnificently put down in words. The “Old Crone [Prague] has claws”, as Kafka put it, and Ripellino shows exactly why that is so. The research that went into this book is simply astounding, with my edition having 44 pages of tightly spaced notes, of 333 pages total, including index. The book takes us from one extraordinary Prague tale to another, with myth, legend and reality all melting into one pot of magic. Anyone that plans to visit the center of Europe should read this book in advance, or at least skim it on the plane. It is a tough read, being full of poetic phrases and meticulous details, which often beg for multiple readings. However, the time spent is well worth it. The book will serve as a beautiful bridge between the soul and the mind, as the traveler wanders along the cobblestones of thousand year old “Praha.”
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