"I am thy labyrinth."

-Nietzsche, in letter to Cosima Wagner

Labyrinths are paths with a seductive purpose--the are designed so that their occupants lose their way.

Note Neitzsche and Philosophy: "The Double Affirmation: Ariadne" (186-189)

[see previous section too...] The labyrinth is a frequent image in Nietzsche. It designates firstly the unconscious, the self; only the Anima is capable of reconciling us with the unconscious, of giving us a guiding thread for its exploration. In the second place, the labyrinth designates the eternal return itself: cicular, it is not the lost way but the way which leads us back to the same point, to the same instant which is, which was and which will be. But, more profoundly, from the perspective of the consitution of the eternal return, the labyrinth is becoming, the affirmation of becoming. Being comes from becoming, it is affirmed of becoming itself, in as much as the affirmation of becoming is the object of another affirmation (Ariadne's thread). As long as Ariadne remained with Theseus the labyrinth was interpreted the wrong way round, it opened out onto higher values, the thread was the thread of the negative and ressentiment, the moral thread. But Dionysus teaches Ariadne his secret: the true labyrinth is Dionysys himself, the true thread is the thread of affirmation. "I am your labyrinth." Dionysus is the labyrinth and the bull, becoming and being, but becoming is only being insofar as its affirmation is itself affirmed. Dionysus not only asks Ariadne to hear but to affirm affirmation: "You have little ears, you have my ears: put a shrewd word there." [a shrewd word and a "stroke of wit" (see Baudrillard's Seduction) and the stroke of wit as the manner in which seduction operates as a force.] The ear is labyrinthine, the ear is the labyrinth of becoming or the maze of affirmation. The labyrinth is what leads us to being, the only being is that of becoming, the only being is that of the labyrinth itself. But Ariadne has Dionysus' ears: affirmation must itself be affirmed so that it can be the affirmation of being. Ariadne puts a shrewd word into Dionysus' ear. That is to say: having herself heard Dionysian affirmation, she makes it the object of a second affirmation heard by Dionysus.

[continue on in this vein.....]

From resources found online, the following sources for labyrinths to be explored:

Labyrinths: A note on labyrinths. Notes: "You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike." (Will Crowther, 1972. From the first mainframe text adventure known as 'Adventure' aka 'Advent' aka 'Colossal Cave'...)

'Like the narrator of Proust's Swann's Way, who, after soaking in lime-flower tea the 'petites madeleines' crumbs, entered into the "abyss of uncertainty... the mind feels... when it, the seeker, is at same time the dark region through which it must go seeking and where all its equipment will avail it nothing..."' [FROM: <

The Three Types of Labyrinth according to Umberto Eco- The Name of the Rose.]

1. The Greek Labyrinth "This kind does not allow anyone to get lost: you go in, arrive at the centre, and then from the centre you reach the exit." eg the labyrinth of Theseus, at the heart is the Minotaur ; half man, half bull; the fruit of the unnatural liason between Pasiphae (who had married Minos) and the Sacred White Bull, made possible by Daedelus'cunning engineering. R.Garves I p.294. "Minos consulted an oracle to know how he might best avoid scandal and conceal Pasiphae's disgrace. The response was - Instruct Daedelus to build you a retreat at Knossus. This Daedelus did and spent the remainder of his lfe in the inextricable maze called the Labyrinth, at the heart of which he concealed Pasiphae and the Minotaur. "Exacting some obscure revenge, Minos demanded that every ninth year seven boys and seven girls be fed to the Minotauar. The Hero and Professional Righter of Dreadful Wrongs, Theteus pitied the parents of the sacrificed children and had himself taken as one of the youths, disguising two effeminate youths of great bravery and ingenuity as maidens. Theseus killed the Minotaur in the Labyrinth and emerged using a length of thread for a passionate embrace from Minos' new wife. A myth of sexual passion and labyrinthine doings. "if he were not there the story would have no zest, it would be a mere stroll. Terror is born, if it is born, from the fact that you do not know where you will arrive or what the Minotaur will do. "Eco. Reflections.

2. The Mannerist Labyrinth ; "if you unravel it, you find in your hands a kind of tree, a structure with roots, with many blind alleys. There is only one exit, but you can get it wrong. You need an Ariadne's thread to keep from getting lost. This labyrinth is the model of the trial and error process.

3. The Net or Rhyzome Labyrinth. "so constructed that every path can be connected with every other one. OIt has no centre, no periphery, no exit because it is potentially infinite. The space of conjecture is a rhyzome space. The labyrinth of my Library is a rhyzome space.

references from <


* Borges, Jorge Luis Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings.

Robbe-Grillet, Alain In the Labyrinth.


Bertolucci, Bernardo The Spider's Strategem. 1970. Bertolucci's film on Borges' 'Theme of the Traitor and the Hero' from Labyrinths. (Modern word page on this.)


Attali, Jacques Labyrinth in Culture and Society: Pathways to Wisdom. 1996. "An attempt to understand coded messages and modern interactive thinking, including the Internet, through the symbol of the labyrinth. In this cultural history, Attali shows that nonlinear searching has always been a part of cultures and may well become more important in the future. Color photos & illustrations."

Fisher, Adrian & Gerster, Georg The Art of the Maze.

Gutierrez, Donald The Maze in the Mind and the World: Labyrinths in Modern Literature.

Jaskolski, Helmut The Labyrinth : Symbol of Fear, Rebirth, and Liberation.

Kern, Hermann Through the Labyrinth: Designs and Meanings over 5,000 Years. (English translation of 2nd German edition.) "This is the long-awaited English translation of Kern's monumental treatise on the labyrinth. The text spans 315 pages with over 700 photographs and illustrations. Extensive 16-page bibliography. The most definitive and thoroughly illustrated book on labyrinths to date. Kern's book is currently the ultimate source of historical and interpretive information on labyrinths. None other achieves such a high standard."

Manson, Christopher The Maze: Solve the World's Most Challenging Puzzle.

* Poundstone, William Labyrinths of Reason : Paradox, Puzzles, and the Frailty of Knowledge.

Matthews, William Henry Mazes and Labyrinths: Their History and Development.


Adrian Fisher Maze Design See also Fisher's Maize Mazes. Andrew Plotkin's review of one of Fisher's maize mazes.

Robert Abbott's Logic Mazes

Caerdroia - the Journal of Mazes and Labyrinths

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TIME FOR FLANNERY O’CONNER’S “The Artificial Nigger”—to be used as an example of labyrinths.

CROSS-REFERENCE the guide who only has at heart your getting lost….

NOTE TO VISITORS: This page is part of a doctoral dissertation that is scheduled to be completed May 2006 at the University of South Carolina. Feel free to peruse, but keep in mind, much of the bibliographic infomation required of such a project is yet to be included. If you have any questions, suggestions, or problems concerning what you find here, feel free to contact me at You are also invited to leave a message for me and other visitors HERE. The Arcades Project Project or The Rhetoric of Hypertext, Copyright 2005: all rights reserved. This site was created and is maintained by H. Marcelle Crickenberger who holds all rights to all images and all material on this site not credited otherwise.