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Excerpts from the novel

“Monte Verità”

by Daphne du Maurier

In the mountains we come closest to whatever Being it is that rules our destiny. The great utterances of old were given from the mountain tops: it was always to the hills that the prophets climbed. The saints, the messiahs, were gathered to their fathers in the clouds. It is credible to me, in my more solemn moods, that the hand of the magic reached down that night to Monte Verità ...

I also, at midday, saw the sun. What I saw and heard and felt was not of this world. I think of the rock-face, with the moon upon it; I hear the chanting ... I hear the laughter; I see the bare bronzed arms outstretched to the sun. (46)

"It is the moon they worship and the sun." (67)

"They have the secret of life, on Monte Verità." (87)

"This place, to me, is paradise. And I would rather jump now, to those rocks hundreds of feet below me, than go back to the world from Monte Verità." (77)

There was no need for speech, when a smile, a glance conveyed a message and a thought; while laughter, triumphant always, sprang from the heart's centre, never to be suppressed. This was no closed order, gloomy, sepulchral, denying all that instinct gave the heart. Here Life was fulfilled, clamouring, intense, and the great heat of the sun seeped into the veins, becoming part of the blood stream, part of the living flesh. (105)

"Here is no creed, no saviour, and no deity. Only the sun, which gives us life". (106)

Time stood still on Monte Verità. (108)

"It takes time, you know, to build a Monte Verità. It isn't just doing without clothes and worshipping the sun." (110)

"Those who go to the mountains must give everything. That's all there is to it." (111)

Perhaps the inhabitants of Monte Verità had long prepared themselves ... neither for immortality nor for death, but for the world of men and women. In stealth, in secret, they came down into the valley unobserved, and, mingling with the people, went their separate ways. I wonder, looking down from my apartment into the hub and hustle of my world, if some of them wander there, in the crowded streets ... (47)

Daphne du Maurier

(Daphne du Maurier: Monte Verità. In: The Birds and Other Stories. London 1963)