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Literary Essences
Minnesota:: fernwerks press,, 2000.. Edition of 25. 11.5 x 9.5 x 1.5" handmade clamshell box covered with Japanese bookbinding fabric. Includes a set of 26 essence vials, 26 diagnostic cards, a hand-bound guidebook for using the essences, a set of index cards, and a pair of tweezers. Part spoof of our self-help here's-a-pill world, part demonstration of a heartfelt belief of the efficacy of literature. This book, according to the artist, is a step by step guide to the use of literary essences as natural heath remedies for emotional and spiritual well-being. Open the box, and find 26 vials of literary essence. Each vial contains lozenge-sized circles (allegedly punched from pages of 26 works of literature) in a solution that captures the precise and particular odor of that work. (Leaves of Grass is easy. And perhaps The Hobbit. But the smell of Beckett's Westward Ho?) Each essence -- hence, each book -- cures, alleviates, or engages certain feelings, symptoms, or conditions. The index cards tell you exactly what. Directions call for the ingestion of 4 paper circles to commence the healing. In a private communication, the artist cautions: "NEVER -- I repeat NEVER -- handle essences with your bare hands! Their potency will be diminished." Wendy Fernstrum: "Flower essences are herbal infusions used as natural remedies for mind-body wellness. Literary Essences plays with the idea of literature as an elixir, a 'you are what you read' approach to wellness. "Inside the clamshell box are essential tools for using essences of literature. Each vial contains the punched-out holes of pages from a copy of the book identified on the label, along with a scent. The guidebook answers important questions such as, 'What if I take the wrong literary essence or too much of the correct one?' A set of diagnostic cards identifies the 'positive qualities' and 'patterns of imbalance' associated with each book. A pair of tweezers assists in the extraction of an essence from the vials. "One way to approach Literary Essences is to find among the vials a book you've read. Locate its matching diagnostic card to learn how that book may have helped you. Then unscrew the cap of the vial to see if the scent corresponds with your memory of the book….. "Another approach would be to use the guidebook and the diagnostic cards to identify a book you don't know, but should. For example, if you long for less longing, you might try Samuel Beckett's Worstward Ho. Do you worry that something bad may happen but you're not sure what? Grace Paley's Later the Same Day may be of assistance. Case studies show that reading the book while taking the essence helps to instigate a positive emotional shift." As they say in the South, "This is a hoot with a little owl behind it.
      [Bookseller: Vamp & Tramp, Booksellers, LLC]
Last Found On: 2014-12-15           Check availability:      Biblio    

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