A Dictionary of Symbols: Revised and Expanded Edition (Paperback)

A Dictionary of Symbols: Revised and Expanded Edition By Juan Eduardo Cirlot, Jack Sage (Translated by), Valerie Miles (Translated by), Victoria Cirlot (Afterword by), Herbert Read (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Juan Eduardo Cirlot, Jack Sage (Translated by), Valerie Miles (Translated by), Victoria Cirlot (Afterword by), Herbert Read (Foreword by)
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A classic encyclopedia of symbols by Catalan polymath Joan Cirlot that illuminates the symbolic underpinnings of myth, modern psychology, literature, and art.

Juan Eduardo Cirlot’s A Dictionary of Symbols is a feat of scholarship, an act of the imagination, and a tool for contemplation, as well as a work of literature, a reference book that is as indispensable as it is brilliant and learned. Cirlot was a composer, a poet, an art critic, and a champion of modern art whose interest in surrealism helped to bring him to the study of symbolism. Carl Jung, Mircea Eliade, René Guénon, Erich Fromm, and Gaston Bachelard also helped to shape his thinking in a book that explores the space between the world at large and the world within, where, as Cirlot sees it, nothing is meaningless, everything is significant, and everything is in some way related to something else. Running from “abandonment” to “zone” by way of “flute” and “whip,” spanning the cultures of the world, and including a wealth of visual images to further bring the reality of the symbol home, A Dictionary of Symbols, here published for the first time in English in its original, significantly enlarged form, is a luminous and illuminating investigation of the works of eternity in time.

About the Author

Juan Eduardo Cirlot (1916–1973) was born in Barcelona. In 1958, drawing on his vast erudition, which extended to medieval hermeneutics, Eastern art and religion, Sufism, and film, he produced the first edition of A Dictionary of Symbols, a book that he continued to revise and enlarge for the rest of his life. In the course of his life, Cirlot worked as a customs agent, for a bank, and in publishing. He was also known as an avid collector of medieval swords.

Valerie Miles
has translated such writers as Enrique Vila-Matas and Rafael Chirbes, among many others. She is the editor of A Thousand Forests in One Acorn: An Anthology of Spanish-Language Fiction and, with Azar Nafisi, co-editor of That Other World: Nabokov and the Puzzle of Exile. She lives in Barcelona, Spain, where she teaches translation and creative writing at the Pompeu Fabra University.

Jack Sage
(1925–2018) enrolled at King’s College London in 1946, studying Spanish language and music and the theater of Golden Age Spain). In 1956, he was brought on as a lecturer in the Spanish department at King’s College, where he would work for the rest of his life. He retired in 1990 and spent the next two decades of his life consulting about the Spanish Golden Age for, among others, early-music ensembles, the BBC, and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Victoria Cirlot
is a medieval scholar and professor of Romance Philology at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. Her recent books include La visión abierta, Del mito del grial al surrealismo and Grial. Poética y mito.

Herbert Read (1893–1968) was an art historian, writer, and philosopher. A noted English anarchist, he coedited the British edition of The Collected Works of C. G. Jung.

Praise For…

“This new edition could not come at a better time. . . . [T]he simple act of sifting through this sprawling book is a reminder of the underlying continuities between world cultures, despite upheavals, wars, and catastrophes. A Dictionary of Symbols guides us through what unites us across nations, religions, and literary and artistic traditions.” —Angelica Frey, Hyperallergic

"[Cirlot’s] book is not merely a reference work for students of symbology, but a book to be read at leisure. It does indeed provide informative and interesting reading. The longer entries can be read as independent essays, but it is only by reading through the volume steadily that one can become aware of the intricate interrelations of symbolic meanings." —Catherine D. Rau, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

"[This] is a volume which can either be used as a work of reference, or simply read for pleasure and instruction. There are many entries in this dictionary—those on Architecture, Colour, Cross, Graphics, Mandala, Numbers, Serpent, Water, Zodiac, to give a few examples—which can be read as independent essays. But in general the greatest use of the volume will be for the elucidation of those many symbols which we encounter in the arts and in the history of ideas. Man, it has been said, is a symbolizing animal; it is evident that at no stage in the development of civilization has man been able to dispense with symbols." —Herbert Read
Product Details
ISBN: 9781681371979
ISBN-10: 1681371979
Publisher: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2020
Pages: 576
Language: English