The slender blade of reason is no more than a probe against the tomahawk of insanity, which can crush a skull with a single blow.
—Louis Levy, Kzradock (translated by W. C. Bamberger)
Doubt about our surroundings, about our reality, about ourselves.
But where should doubt start, and when? What do we gain by being the detectives of our minds and souls?
These are the themes at the core of—take a deep breath—Kzradock the Onion Man and the Spring-Fresh Methuselah: From the Notes of Dr. Renard de Montpensier by Louis Levy (1910).
A moment to parse the title of this novella:
- Dr Renard is the protagonist.
- Kzradock the Onion Man is the title of Part I.
- The Spring-Fresh Methuselah is the title of Part II.
A shorter moniker generally aids mental manipulation, so I chose Spring-Onion (no disrespect meant); you might chose something else. I note that the original Danish title at least avoids the English double-barrelled translations: Menneskeløget (Onion Man) and vaarfriske (Spring-Fresh).