If not by nature, then by habit, people tend to match one thing with another—man and woman, laughter and tears, sickness and health, fire and water, master and servant—thereby accentuating similarities and contrasts and opening a field of relations. In The Mirror of Ideas
, Michel Tournier examines these pairs and a host of others to demonstrate how pairing one object or idea with another generates the work of imagination, philosophy, and creative thinking of all kinds.
Tournier treats pairs both lowly and exalted—moving from fork and spoon, horse and bull, cat and dog, to fear and anguish, poetry and prose, body and soul, being and nothingness. Hardly an exhaustive inventory of traditional pairs, his selection nonetheless opens the door to patterns deeply embedded in culture and civilization, speech and writing, memory and habit. Possessed of both brilliant surfaces and surprising depths, Tournier’s myriad reflections on the mirror of language reveal why his works have generated international attention and acclaim.