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Juniper Fuse
Upper Paleolithic Imagination & the Construction of the Underworld
Clayton Eshleman




Wesleyan
2003 • 356 pp. 84 illus. (8 color plates) 7 x 10"
Art History / Art / Archaeology

$29.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6605-8



Eshleman, a poet and translator with more than a dozen books to his credit, acts less as a tour guide through the caves and more... [continued in Reviews below]”—Bookforum

A commanding meditation on the development of early human imagination.

For over thirty years, Clayton Eshleman has studied the Ice Age cave art of southwestern France—Juniper Fuse is the culmination of this work. Named after the primitive hand lamp wicks used to light cave walls, the book, in Ronald Gottesman’s words, is “a fabulous three-dimensional tapestry of scholarship. Original and intense, it poses serious questions about human nature and its relation to the animal and natural worlds.”

Juniper Fuse is also a profound examination, in poetry and in prose, of the nature of poetic imagination and personal myth-making. Drawing upon art history and archaeology as well as poetics and personal experience, Eshleman delivers a potent distillation of the “paleoecology” of our minds, a provocative, and wholly passionate, exploration into the nature of consciousness.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“... Eshleman, a poet and translator with more than a dozen books to his credit, acts less as a tour guide through the caves and more as a translator, bringing to life what most of us have never seen ... . His writing moves effortlessly from memoir to essay to poetry, plumbing the secrets of ‘self,’ of lost history, of art’s eternal meanings. ... Eshleman allows us to see that all may not be poetry, but as long as we remain human, there will always be poetry.”Bookforum

“This arresting diptych of verse and philosophical prose charts a twenty-five-year obsession with the prehistoric cave paintings of southwestern France. The region’s enigmatic art work, dating from the Upper Paleolithic era, has been a constant muse for Eshleman.... Breathless accounts of cave exploration appear in counterpoint with poems in eerily primordial voices. ... For Eshleman, it seems, the artist’s imaginative predicament is something of a cave itself, both maze and refuge.”The New Yorker

“Eshleman, a poet and translator with more than a dozen books to his credit, acts less as a tour guide through the caves and more as a translator, bringing to life what most of us have never seen... he uses these multiple levels to illuminate a darkness both real and metaphorical. His writing moves effortlessly from memoir to essay to poetry, plumbing the secrets of ‘self,’ of lost history, of art’s eternal meanings... Eshleman allows us to see that all may not be poetry, but as long as we remain human, there will always be poetry.”Bookforum

“…Eshleman’s theory is fascinating and affectionately described. Juniper Fuse is an essential read for anyone interested in prehistory, cave art, the development of consciousness, myth, and religion. Unusual in its approach, remarkably creative in its intellectual breadth, and convincing in its arguments, it adds significantly to our understanding of early humanity.”—Oyster Boy Review

“Archeologists and artists have written on Southwestern European cave art, but none have given us a book like this. Clayton Eshleman has explored and inspected almost all of the great cave art of southwestern Europe including many caves that are not open to the public and require special permission. Now with visionary imagination, informed poetic speculation, deep insight, breathtaking leaps of mind, Eshleman draws out the underground of myth, psychology, prehistory, and the first turn of the human mind toward the modern. Juniper Fuse opens us up to our ancient selves: we might be weirder (and also better) than we thought.” —Gary Snyder

“No one knows the caves and the archaic regions of the soul in our times as does Clayton Eshleman. He is a guide among the animal images of the primordial psyche. His work takes us into the source of imagination, the dark origins of the human mind.”James Hillman, author of The Soul’s Code



CLAYTON ESHLEMAN, poet, essayist, translator and educator, has founded and edited two seminal literary journals, Caterpillar and Sulfur, published twelve books of original poetry, two volumes of essays, and nine volumes of translations. He was the recipient of The National Book Award in 1979 for his co-translation of César Vallejo’s Complete Posthumous Poetry. He is Professor of English, Emeritus, at Eastern Michigan University.

Click here for author's website.


Thu, 16 Feb 2017 14:46:54 -0500