SNP’s word of the day: Phantasmagorical

Illustration by Lewis Mirrett

Illustration by Lewis Mirrett

Word: Phantasmagorical

Meaning: A series of random, fantastical events occurring as in a dream; kind of like surrealism minus the realism.

Usage: “I wanted to be sure I was properly grounded before straying into treacherous territory: the nature of being in our phantasmagorical high-finance, high-tech era.” — a review of the new Robert Harris book

You should know it because: Yesterday, the online fashion rag Hint posted about a new flavour of macaron by Tsumori Chisato for Ladurée, a flavour the Parisian makers call “phantasmagorical.” I hope one bite sends you on a lurid bacchanalia populated by satyrs and unicorns, a sort of Fear and Loathing in Ladurée, because that’s what a phantasmagoria is. Think of: paintings by the 15th century Dutch freak Hieronymus Bosch, music by David Lynch, and films by Tim Burton—or better yet, Guillermo del Toro‘s Pan’s Labyrinth (2008). Phantasmagorical literature is often for kids, á la Lewis Carroll, but not always: One Hundred Years of Solitude is a good example; Midnight’s Children, an overrated one. The more occult beliefs of Carl Jung were phantasmagorical, and so were the teachings of American author/shaman Carlos Castaneda. But a pink macaron? Keep dreaming.