I was still living in Vienna when the death of Thomas Bernhard in the winter of 1989 was noted with near relish and observable relief by both the larger part of the Austrian press and the (not always) “silent majority” of the population. Despite the posthumous tide of Bernhard adulation, The Cheap Eaters is still little-known and read in German-speaking countries. This slim volume of philosophical-maniacal rants and furiously exhausted reflections from the beginning of Bernhard's final period reads like Musil or Wittgenstein knotted into Dostoyevsky’s Underground Man. It was brought into English with excellent care by Douglas Robertson and given the rare Bernhard-appropriate book cover design by Spurl Editions. Readers of E.M. Cioran, Elfriede Jelinek, Samuel Beckett, or Kafka will want to submit to Bernhard’s labyrinthian narrative of mangled existence and overwhelmed mind.
A thoughtfully conceived and finely presented clothbound reprint of a strange but seminal book that first appeared in 1905. Conceived by theosophists Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater, Thought Forms: A Record of Clairvoyant Investigations is a deep-dive exploration of the visual forms created by sounds, thoughts, and emotions—and the notion that these exist as objects. Besant and Leadbeater conveyed their clairvoyant observations of the unseen world to a group of visual artists & friends, who translated these "second-sight trance states" of "auras, vortices, etheric matter, astral projections, and energy forms" into fifty-eight striking watercolor paintings. Thought Forms quickly reached beyond its original readership and exerted a foundational (if at times unacknowledged) influence over some of the early luminaries of abstract art—including Kandinsky, Klee, Malevich, and Mondrian. But it perhaps most deeply inspired abstract art’s earliest yet erstwhile unseen light, the Swedish artist and mystic Hilma af Klint. Although largely ignored by modern art historians and institutions—due to a time-honored aversion to arcane knowledge in artistic manifestations—these investigations into the "art of seeing the invisible" have continued to inspire countless areas of artistic creation.