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From the publisher
In The Anti-Basilisk Christopher Middleton, in the spirit that impelled Shelley to write The Masque of Anarchy, reveals as crooked the apparently straight and sees what's coming round corners with a clarity that dazzles. Bruno Schulz in 1937 made an observation that might stand as epigraph to this collection: 'Thrones wilt when they are not fed with blood, their vitality grows with the mass of wrongs committed, with life-denials, with the crushing of all that is perpetually different and that has been ousted by them.' Certain dilemmas in such a prospect are implicit in the shady figures of 'Saul Pinkard' and 'Doctor Dark'. The Basilisk of the title is a sort of monster, all ego, atavistic and implacable. The poems fall into five sections, the first and fourth twenty-poem panoramas, the fifth a gathering of translations.