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A contemporary Ballet based on the book of Ramon Llull (s.XIII) (2023)
work in progress...
LLIBRE DE MERAVELLESThe ten books included in the "Llibre de Meravelles" are:
1 - Llibre de Déu (Book of God)2 - Llibre dels àngels (Book of angels)3 - Llibre del cel (Book of Heaven)4 - Llibre dels elements (Book of the elements)5 - Llibre de les plantes (Book of plants)6 - Llibre dels metalls (Book of metals)7 - Llibre de les bèsties (Book of beasts)8 - Llibre d'home (Book of man)9 - Llibre de paradís (Book of paradise)10 - Llibre d'infern (Book of hell)

Ramon wrote this ambitious didactic novel during his first stay in Paris, between 1287 and1289. The protagonist, Felix, whose name is also often used to designate this work, is not a hero without blemish like Blaquerna, who contributes decisively towards the organisation of worldly affairs, but rather a pilgrim who observes reality only to discover, to his sorrow and surprise, the distance separating human conduct from the divine order of creation. The medieval term ‘wonder’ (‘meravella’) refers to Felix’s sorrowful surprise at the assorted forms of evil, but also designates the positive enthusiasm of the traveller when he obtains aspects of the truth from the mouths of philosophers and hermits with whom he engages in friendly dialogue.
Felix’s travels follow a path prepared by the encyclopedic knowledge of the 13th century, with the result that the ten sections of the work coincide roughly with the subjects of Ramon’s Art: God, the angels, the heavens, the elements, plants, metals, the animals, man, paradise and hell. Even though Felix contains a great deal of information about theology and natural philosophy, the work’s nucleus is to be found in moral philosophy, present in the eighth part, the ‘The Book of Man’, which complements the political apology of the preceding section, the Book of the Beasts.
Felix combines narrative with forms of dialogue which were customary in medieval didactic texts. Sometimes Llull shows us the progress of diligent disciples, who are capable of resolving complicated questions as well as their masters: this functions as a stimulus to the reader, who is invited to educate himself through contact with the book he is holding in his hands. The principal tool offered by Ramon takes the form of ‘exempla’, the true soul of the Book ofWonders. Practically everything which occurs throughout the novel ‘represents’ some other thing. The masters found by Felix clear up his doubts by means of stories and resemblances of other aspects of reality, which bear an analogical correspondence to the information required. Llull’s vision of the cosmos, founded upon Platonic notions of analogy and exemplarism is responsible for the literary form of this novel. Sometimes the analogies appear to be obscure: Llull never wished them, however, to be completely so, because he believed in the educative power of intellectual exercise.

According to Vida coetània (1311), Llull went to Rome from April 1287 until well into the year 1288. Then, he went to Paris, where he should have arrived during the last quarter from 1288, and it was there until the end of 1289. During this time in Paris he began to write the Llibre de meravelles, the second and last novel by Llull, which would probably have finished before arriving in Montpellier 1290 year.
The novel is divided into ten books about God, the angels, the sky, the elements (with a good number of meteorological references), plants, metals, beasts (the apologist known as the Book of the beasts that, in fact, is a regiment of princes with echoes of the Roman de Renard and re-elaborations of Calila and Dimna), man (both physically and spiritually), paradise and hell. Meetings with hermitages, clerical gentlemen, ladies, Blaquerna and other very diverse situations occur in a locus amoenus, similar to that of the Llibre del gentil (1274-1276) that, according to Llull's thought, favored the conversation and intellectual growth. lectual This harmonious scenario, where the protagonist marvels and solves his intellectual concerns, acts as a counterpoint to the forest, from the unknown, dark and dangerous place where sin is born, but where also the pure men like Blaquerna, who really love and know God, proves his courage and his strength in faith.
In the prologue, after the presentation of the contents and the exposition of the reasons that the author is pushing for the creation of the book, a man who has detected the problems of his society and his religion suggests his son, Fèlix , to leave home in order to train and get to live as God wants and as a good Christian. In the first book, dedicated to God, Felix begins his training trip. Soon Felix goes into a forest and finds himself with a pastor, an example of a good Christian. Satisfied by the courage and faith of women, Felix fired and continues his journey. But, suddenly, he realizes surprised that the shepherd has been attacked and killed by a wolf. The young man is not able to understand the situation and doubts about the existence of God. In the evening, desperate, he finds himself with a hermit who gives him comfort and confirms the existence of God, among other divine attributes such as unity and trinity. After all, Felix continues his journey, until he finds himself dressed as a religious person, whom he tries to announce without success. This failure once again congratulates young feelings of doubt and weakness, which multiply when you meet a woman who has just lost her son. Felix feels sexually attracted to this woman and, after this luxurious temptation, believes that the incarnation of God can not be true. The woman, who was going to seek consolation in Blaquerna's chapel, advised her to accompany her. Blaquerna advises the two characters, confirms in Faith Felix and offers other knowledge related to Christian dogmas.
Retaking his journey, Felix is ​​in the church of a hermit that confirms the existence of the angels and their qualities during the second book. A pastor, with whom he has been sheltered due to a heavy storm, explains to Fèlix the secrets of heaven to the third book. This pastor accompanies Fèlix to the court of a king who has decided to educate his children separately: one as a knight and the other as a philosopher. In the lessons that the wise person in charge of the formation of the second child makes to the palace, Felix is ​​indoctrinated on the nature and the composition of the four elements (earth, fire, water and air). After all, Felix resumes his march alone, until he finds a squire that pleads for his lord has retired to a hermitage to know the plants and to be able to contemplate God. This old gentleman, who became a philosopher, illustrates Felix on the nature of plants and metals during the fifth and sixth books. More ahead, Felix is ​​with two monks who find out about the facts that occur between the animals in the forest. During the Seventh Book or the Beast's Book, the young man is a witness to the machinations and intrigues of the fox-protagonist of the story, called Na Renard, to take control of the power and control the advice of the lion, the king of animals . Alleged for this valuable experience, Felix continues his journey until he stumbles successively with a poor pastor and two men, Diria-hom and Poco-me-precio, who are confronted. Then Felix was the need to know the nature of men that a hermit satisfies in the eighth book (the most extensive of the novel) and that he completes the same hermit with the explanation of the future life in paradise or hell in books ninth and tenth, which closes the training process of Fèlix. Finally, in the epilogue of the novel, Felix is ​​welcomed in a pleasant abbey, whose members share his knowledge and experiences, until he decides to restart his pilgrimage. Before leaving, but feels indisposed and dies. In tribute, the members of the abbey decide that there is always a monk in that congregation that is called Felix and that he continues his work.
As it can be deduced, this story full of wisdom, more or less fantastic adventures and good teachings, immediately enjoyed the readers' approval. The uniqueness of the Book of Wonders (and, of course, what is definitely detached from the medieval academic treatises) lies in the choice, distribution and presentation of contents. Of the ten books in which the novel is divided, only the first two (God and angels) and the last two (paradise and hell) can be considered strictly theological. Of the other six, four belong to the field of natural philosophy (III-VI), one is a regiment of princes (VII) and the other is a complete and careful study of man from the point of view of the Its specificity as the only creature composed of matter and spirit (VIII). This conception of the novel allows Llull to demonstrate the efficiency and the explanatory and deductive virtues of Art. Llull announces that the principles of Art can explain theologically, ethically or physically, with the same demonstrable effectiveness. This is possible because the world is a mirror that necessarily reflects the nature and essence of its Creator, although it does it logically without fully reproducing its magnitude.
The book is divided into ten parts.
-The first book deals with a pastorel of a divine style. Felix begins his itinerary finding himself on his way with a shepherd with whom he has a brief conversation, then, when he moves away from the place, hears the shouts of the shepherdess. Felix runs to the place just in time to see how the wolf, who eats his children, eats it with her. From that moment on, he begins to doubt the existence of God; If God existed he would not have let the wolf have eaten the poor shepherdess. Felix has been assaulted by the most serious of temptations. A hermit will solve all doubts and Fèlix will continue his journey with the beliefs reassured.-The second book is that of the angels. Felix arrives at a church and sees a painted image of Saint Michael weighing souls with balances. Felix asks the hermit for the meaning of the image and through this anecdote is used to speak of the angels and their qualities.-The third book begins when Felix goes through the forest and a storm surprises him. He takes refuge in a cave and there he meets with a pastor who will illustrate, based on examples, the sky empire and the sky.-In The fourth book, Felix and the shepherd find a king and his two children, the greatest of which he learned to learn philosophy and the small cavalry. In this case Felix will learn that wisdom and truth is more important than weapons and force in life.-The fifth book is structured through a conversation with a great teacher of philosophy, which has left riches and honors and has shut in solitude in order to study the plants and through this contemplate the its creator The philosopher illustrates to Felix on the generation of the plants, the corruption of the trees and the virtue of the vegetables.-In The sixth book the philosopher himself tells him about metals, where the dispute between iron and silver, the magnet appears and gives him some notions of alchemy.-In The seventh book he does not talk about animals, as we would expect, but rather he makes use of a political and sociological apologist, who does not talk about the conditions of animals but on those of men. Llull speaks of the power and corruption of the great responsibility that the leaders of society have in everything that affects their subjects and the need not to set their own ambition on others.-The eighth book of the Free of wonders is devoted to man. It is the most extensive part of the book and in it is reflected on various aspects of being such as cowardice, honor, charity, cruelty.-The Ninth and Tenth book of the book Llull speaks to us about Paradise and Hell respectively. Paradise is where the soul goes when the body dies. God created the body to be able to know the physical world he had created; The soul, however, is immortal and awaits the resurrection.-Once the work is finished we find an epilogue where Felix arrives at an abbey where he is kindly welcomed. After the story, the abbot and the whole community ask him to become a monk of that community; the abbot proposes to take the habit and that, wearing it, go everywhere counting the Book of wonders. When everything is ready, however, Felix suffers a deadly disease. Before dying, he commits God and begs him to grant him another to carry his purpose. Once dead, a monk of that abbey takes over the mission and starts to explore the world explaining the Book of Wonders.