Sunday, 30 September 2007

The University of Levana Press

Beach Forest

Though it may not be widely known at this stage, Miguel Errazu wrote Chronicles of the Greater Dream after the Government of Gondwana got in touch with him and asked him to do so.
The book is published by the UK branch of the University of Levana Press, which has once more become operational after a deplorable break of several decades.
The book itself is part of a broader gonvernmental project, The Greater Dream Project designed to protect the international interests of the country by providing the international community with reliable information - at last. The project includes the book, a website, the present blog, a projected international Greater Dream Congress (still very much in the planning stage) and a worldwide campaign of general information. Miguel goes into this in detail in the third volume of the Chronicles.

This being said, our friends at the University Press are very excited to learn that the Chronicles are now available in Japan and they have have asked me to inform the public on this blog.

And while you're at it, they suggested, you might as well also give the links for Amazon US and UK.

I tend to forget these practical points, and they do well to remind me.

With this go our greetings to our many friends in Japan. The illustration above was sent in by one of them. This brings him out warmest thanks.

To order from Amazon JP:

To order from Amazon US:

To order from Amazon UK:

Friday, 28 September 2007

The country's name

A couple of days ago I mentioned a meeting to discuss changing the country's name. The reasons for this are worth telling. The whole thing hinges on a paragraph in Michael Gibson's introduction to The Riddle of the Seal:

"In ages past", he writes, "the inhabitants of its countless provinces, towns, villages and hamlets, had no single name for the land. The present name only entered common usage after the first of the great Navigators reached its shores five hundred years ago and asked the first man they chanced upon what land this might be. He promptly replied: “Go’ndwa-ná,” and so it was set down on their maps. Only later, when scholars reached the land and began to study some of its many languages, did it appear that “Go’ndwa-ná!” actually meant: 'I’m sorry! I don’t understand'!”

The first suggestion for a change of name came a few years ago, shortly after I addressed the UN. I happened upon delegates of various countries (including Beluchistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan - and several other "stans"),and one of them, a notorious wit, suggested, with a perfectly straight face, that the country's be changed to Yaydon-Unnastan."

We all laughed and dropped the subject. I very much doubt that such an initiative can actually achieve anything more than add to the confusion, but since some delegates began discussing the proposal seriously when they came across me in the hallway, pointing out that their own countries had changed names after the departure of the colonial powers, I thought we'd better have a meeting that would lay the matter to rest. And, as we all know, the best way to do this without hurting anyone's feelings is to appoint a committee to examine the question.
And so, since Herbert and Wilhelmina both had business in Europe at that time, they agreed to attend this meeting as experts, play along with the idea as long as necessary to help me shelve the project.

I'd talked all this over at a cabinet meeting at home, and shortly thereafter, dear Angelo who, as you know, is a poet, urged me to stand fast and, handing me a translation he'd recently made of a short poem by Francis Jammes, added these enigmatic words: "Once we realize that we don't understand, we've made a decisive step in the right direction, don't you think?"
Here's what he gave me:

When I am dead, you, with blue eyes
The color of tiny fireblue water-beetles,
Young girl whom I dearly loved,
And who are like an iris in
The Animated Flowers,
You'll come and take me gently by the hand.
You'll lead me down this little hidden path.
You won't be naked, no, but, O my dear, sweet rose!
Your mild breast will blossom within your blouse of mauve.
We won't even kiss one another on the forehead
But, hand in hand, skirting the new-green brambles
Where the grey spiders sit and weave their rainbows,
We'll shape a silence soft as honey.
And now and then, when you sense my sadness rising,
You'll press your slender fingers harder on my hand
And together, stirred like lilacs in a thunderstorm,
We won't understand... we won't understand.

The Animated Flowers, by the way; was a French publication of the nineteenth century, which had apparently caught the poet's fancy. I looked it up and couldn't find the iris, but I did find another flower (posted above), which gives an idea of the sort of beauty that enchanted the French poet.
Not really my style, but tastes do change!

Thursday, 27 September 2007

I'd like to comment on the music you hear on the Greater Dream website (

The fine elfine features above are those of Birgit Yew, an outstanding 'cellist and all-round musician who has received a good classical training and has developed an original approach to Celtic folk music.

The music performed on the website is her own composition (Twilight).

In this unusual rendering of a Celtic melody, she makes use of the eerie harmonics of her instrument - these are the unusual, crystalline notes you hear at the beginning.

Several of her compositions and arrangements can also be heard on her sites.

Thank you, Birgit!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Professors Herbert Hughes and Wilhelmina Roberts
I’m back in Paris for a a number of meetings at UNESCO, also attended by Professors Herbert Hughes and Wilhelmina Roberts, senior editors of the new edition of the Encyclopaedia Gonduanensis (presently in the works) and collators of the learned Notes and Comments section published at the end of Miguel’s Chronicles.
We are here there to examine a proposal to change the name of our country. The idea was brought up recently at the UN by a number of countries that had gone through much the same sort of post-colonial experience as our own, but I doubt that anything will actually come of it. I’m not even sure that it’s really desirable to do so (more about this some other day)
The professors’ presence on this occasion was a fortunate coincidence, since it allowed pass on an interesting question I received today from Lady Singleton (click below).
In brief, the lady would like to know just where she she can find Gondwana on the map.

I’m so glad you asked that question, dear Lady Singleton, and here’s what our encyclopaedic professors have to say about the subject (after consultation with a few of their collaborators).

There’s been a tremendous amount of speculation and controversy about this very question through the millenia and references to the country are found in a number of works of great antiquity - which shows that the ancient world was entirely aware of its existence.
As Mr. Lonternough points out on the Greater Dream website ( two of the country’s major seaports, Eburnea and Cornea are mentioned by Homer (Odyssey, XIX, 562-569) where they are called the Gate of Ivory and the Gate of Horn (see also Michael Gibson’s “Scholarly Introduction” to volume I of the Chronicles).

An intriguing diagram is found in a ninth-century manuscript of Ptolemy’s “Handy Tables” now in the Royal Library in Levana (and also, in a variant form, in the Vatican Library). In the Levana MS, a sphere is shown resting upon a hemisphere rather like a sculpture on its pedestal. One may be reminded of certain myths in which the earth is said to rest on the back of a giant turtle. A turtle shell is also a hemisphere, of course, and the point may be relevant, though it doesn’t appear to have been noted so far by any of the respected authorities.
Further and more oblique references are encountered in Aristotle’s treatise on Memory, in the Dialogues of Plato (passim), in several of the manuscripts of the Revelations of Hermes Trismegistus (see Festugières’ definitive work on this subject), as well as in the works of Giordano Bruno and others (including, most recently, Hölderlin).
What we call Gondwana today was referred to in Antiquity as the Third Hemisphere (Tertium Hemisphaerium). This has been taken quite literally at times, as can be seen in the above diagram, but a recent archeological discovery opens some new and intriguing perspectives.


This brooch or fibula (actual size) was discovered in a 1st millennium BC tomb site outside Levana. Thanks to Michel Mauraisin, director of excavation at the site for allowing us to use this picture.

Many experts today believe that the silver brooch in the shape of a Moebius Loop (above), dating from the first millennium BC and only recently discovered in one of the royal Barrows outside Levana, illustrates the surprising direction taken by the topological speculation of the country’s earliest cosmographers.
Our colleagues at the department of Psychology at our university point out that this loop or strip offers a helpful topological representation of the way the imagination interacts with practical experience.
They point out that in such a strip, a single continuous surface may connect two distinct points initially inscribed on opposite sides of the sheet of paper – before it was twisted into professor Moebius’ paradoxical shape. The full implications of this remain to be explored.
(Any one interested in the Moebius Strip can look it up by using this link
This leads to a further important comment: the region referred to as the Third Hemisphere in the Western world, was known to 12th century Arab geographers as the Eighth Climate. According to a number of earlier thinkers the Third Hemisphere or Eighth Climate stand in direct continuity with the two other hemispheres and climates, but on the other side of the page, so to speak – hence the need for the idiosyncratic loop as a topological model. Persian geographers, too, as early as the 12th century, were calling Gondwana Na-Koja-Abad – the Nowhere Place, from which, they held, all knowledge flows.
New developments in satellite photography have allowed geographers and cosmographers to make great progress in the elaboration of a coherent scientific model. We propose to go into this tomorrow or the next day, providing the FM is willing.

Of course I'm willing, dear Herbert and Wilhelmina, you know the subject far better than I do!

Saturday, 22 September 2007

When I was in New York recently, I called on Irene Thimble, Vice-President of the Women’s Butterfly Watcher’s Auxiliary.

Gondwana owes a lot to this remarkable organization, whose highly confidential history goes back nearly a century.

As Miguel's readers know, it was a force behind the liberation of Theseus Managras, who had been detained for several years in a secret prison in a state of artificially induced amnesia. The WBWA is mentioned in passing in the first chapter of Miguel’s book, and readers are only informed of its true and most surprising history in an article belatedly compiled for the Notes and Comments section of the end of the third episode (which we hope to see in print next year).

Irene was a professional pianist all her life and still plays very well. She is also a widely read woman endowed with considerable humor and wit, as I gathered as soon as she opened her door, since I could hardly fail to notice the earrings she was wearing.

With her permission, I took a photograph of them. I also took one of her own kind face, but she modestly declines to have it posted on this blog. I did manage to reach a compromise however, and while I may not show her face, she has granted me permission to show the face of the clock that hangs on her kitchen wall, together with the delightful flowery wall paper that I admired all through a sumptuous lunch she served as we sat there, all together, in the company of her husband and a few friends.

Friday, 21 September 2007

The Great Seal called the Diard-en-Dnaid

The facade of the Granary (conference center) in New Harmony, Indiana

I had dinner this evening with Michael Francis Gibson, Gondwana's newly appointed Ambassador at Large, who returned only a few days ago from the United States where he had gone to lecture about Gondwana in New Harmony, Indiana.

This interesting little town treasures the memory of the great 19th century industrial reformer Robert Owen (who attempted to set up an innovative industrial center there) and it occasionally convenes symposia devoted to the sort of issues of society that would surely have interested him.

This symposium was devoted to World Heritage cultural cities and cultural landscapes, and Michael was invited to lecture about Gondwana which, in the view of the organizers, constitutes one great cultural landscape. Let's hope the country makes the World Heritage List in the near future!

Michael was very much struck to observe the nine windows of the street facade of the old Granary, in which he spoke - which very much resembles the pattern of the great seal of Gondwana, the Diard-en-Dnaid. He showed me a picture he took of it on that occasion. He said this sort of coincidence might be viewed as an omen - assuming that one actually believes in omens.
We were both deeply gratified to note the interest with which our sorely-tried country was recieved by the distinguished company assembled there. As Foreign Minister of the Federation of Gondwana (FOG) I most sincerely thank them for the stirring warmth of their reception and the singular honor they do us.
For detailed information about the seal and its inscription, go to the website and click on About the Seal. This site was recently put on line by Friends of the Greater Dream, a non-profit association established this year to win international support for the cultural policies of the newly established government of Gondwana.
I really can't resist quoting the association's thrilling declaration of purpose:
"We believe in the democracy of the daydream.
We don’t want to change the world.
We only want to change the way people imagine the world.
And if this should somehow also cause the world to change,
would there really be cause to complain?"

A snag in the tyrannical grid of the daily routine: the sky appears and the snag becomes a bird. (Double-click on the picture to get a good view of it). Photo by Gilles Derome.

First day

I’m inaugurating this blog today with the idea of offering occasional comments arising out of my own reading of Miguel Errazu'’s Chronicles of the Greater Dream (see links below).
I’ve only just read the first chapter and I’m amazed at how little Teddy, Angelo and Dexter we discover then, resemble the men I know today.
Teddy, at the time, was still wandering aimlessly through the woods of amnesia. Angelo’s mangled body was vivid testimony to his unexpected encounter with a freight train (he had been trying to escape from Wisiwygh’s agents). As for Dexter, the way he paraded through life with his umbrella suggests that he’d actually swallowed it.
Gondwana somehow managed to heal us all. Padraic


The Greater Dream Project Website

The Riddle of the Seal, the first episode of Miguel's Chronicles of the Greater Dream, was published this month by The University of Levana Press (UK), with six illustrations and a map by Izhar Cohen, a "Scholarly Introduction" by Michael Francis Gibson and a thoroughly documented Notes and Comments section compiled by Professors Herbert Hughes and Wilhelmina Roberts, co-editors of the new edition of the 24-volume Encyclopaedia Gonduanensis. Both professors teach at the University of Levana, the capital of Gondwana. The book is available on Amazon in the UK and the US.

Amazon UK

And US

Who am I?
I’m Padraic Lonternough and I turn up in the second chapter of Miguel Errazu’s Chronicles of the Greater Dream, a full account of recent events in Gondwana.
My first name, by the way is the Gaelic equivalent of Patrick. Padraic (pronounced Fawdrig) is the proper Gaelic spelling. A truly brilliant stratagem devised long ago to confuse a persistent enemy.
I readily tolerate being called Patrick.
There's no need to go into my personal history here but, as I inaugurate this blog, I should explain how I fit into the story.
I moved or, more accurately, fled to Gondwana a few years ago to escape from the total vacuity of the consumer society. I was drawn there by my growing interest in apes. I’m a primatologist, and I went to Gondwana to study the great apes of the tropical rainforest, Gorilla Gorilla Gonduanensis – a really huge creature that stands, in relation to our own Gorillas as does the Great Dane to the Dachshund.
How Teddy and I met is recorded in the second chapter of Miguel’s book and I’ll leave it to Miguel to tell that story. In any event, that meeting had momentous consequences for both of us and it quite changed my life.
I no longer study apes today. I’m Foreign Minister of Gondwana and I run tirelessly around the world, settling old quarrels and doing my very best to establish constructive relations with all countries. A calling, someone recently pointed out to me, not so far removed from my former line of work in which I successfully established friendly relations with a two-ton gorilla… You might say that I now study people.