In Praise of the Codex Seraphinianus

The Codex Seraphinianus, created by Luigi Serafini and published in 1981, could very well be the panacea for all the major struggles in my life. It’s a manuscript written in a strange, made up language with an even stranger alphabet, and what accompanies it are some of the most disturbing and/or delightful illustrations you will ever see. I wish I could afford a copy of this fascinating publication. I’m sure I’d spend half my waking life lost in the weird world it describes.

The reason this book appeals to me so much is that I seem to spend a lot of time trying really hard to make sense out of the nonsensical. I want everything to be explainable. I want there to be answers to all my questions. I am desperate to have all things fit into neat little boxes.

This book challenges that belief system, and flies in the face of any attempt to categorize things as black or white, right or wrong, fact or fiction. This book lives in the gray areas that we all would prefer to avoid. It defies logic. Or, rather, it invents a logic of its own, one that appeals greatly to the Daliesque world in which our subconscious resides.

The strangest thing about this codex is that the more you look at it, the more it seems to add up. It almost appears to hypnotize you. It causes you to suspend your disbelief to such a degree that you begin to flirt with the idea that you’re losing your mind. But only for a second. Or two.

If anyone out there is wondering what to get me for Christmas, now you know.



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