How can a book of a still living author be indecipherable?it seems incredible yet the Codex Seraphinianus, by Luigi Serafini, is considered as the strangest book ever created. It is the encyclopaedia of a fantastic world, real in the imagination of the author, where flora, fauna, objects and machines get done and undone according to his inspiration.
The pictures are described in an indecipherable way, written in a made up but “necessary” alphabet. No secret code has been hidden inside the book, even though some websites have been popping up with the intent of deciphering the mysterious spelling, looking for an occult content.
Below: page with a list
Serafini defines the code in a different way though: “after all the Codex is like the Rorschach spots: everyone sees what they want to. It’s a sort of oracular vision, you have the sensation that the book tells you something but in reality it’s you who make it talk by seeing things through its pages”.
Below: botany page
More than a thousand of drawings illustrate the imaginary world of Serafini, whom today sees it a some sort of general catalogue / portfolio of all his work, made at the beginning of his career and not at the end, as it usually happens.
Below: a weird looking park
The first edition of the Codex came out in 2 volumes in 1981, published by Franco Maria Ricci Publishing Company. Throughout the years it has become a cult book, loved all over the world and appreciated by artists and writers like Tim Burton, Roland Barthes, Federico Fellini, Leonardo Sciascia, Italo Calvino, and this last one wrote a preface in the Rizzoli Edition, 1993.
Below: a person’s face
The same preface accompanies the reprint from the 2013, enriched with two new drawings. The extraordinary success that today the Codex boasts is so explained by the author:
“the youngsters have grasped that the Cortex was in reality nothing but a blog from the past. A blog given to a network, the editorial one, before the actual current network of internet. […] Maybe in the tech era of internet that’s why people love it that much”.
Below: eye fishes on the right and strange figures on the left
Below: elicopter- shaped object
Below: a human-like hot air balloon
The parallelism with the Voynich manuscript is natural. Both the books were written with an incomprehensible spelling, they contain fantastic imagery yet linked to the real world and both are considered mysterious. Of the Italian author’s book though we are sure that the collection is nothing but pure fantasy without any occult purpose.
is it wise believing that the same can apply to the Voinych’s one?