When writer and publisher Luis de Miranda was just three years old, his parents migrated from Portugal to Paris. De Miranda recalls a lonely childhood in which he favored the company of books and fictional companions to the outside world. He looked to reading as an escape, and daydreaming became common for the self-described lone wolf.
Luis de Miranda.
This secluded childhood would awaken a world of artistry in De Miranda, and at 16, through a young journalist grant, he visited Guinea-Bissau. He experienced a life quite unlike other other kids his age; he spoke with political dissidents, traveled through hostile jungles and ate deer meat to stay alive. Throughout his journey, the young man kept a journal, which eventually became a short novel. “That’s when I decided to be a writer. I’d just understood the concept of cultural relativity, not by reading about it in a book but by experiencing it in borderline situations“, says De Miranda.
Two years later, he went to Nepal, and, again, found himself in less than ideal conditions, including a walk through the jungle where he recalls monkeys throwing stones at him and his travel companion. “On both trips, I had near death experiences, not the kind where you see a white loving light, but more the kind where you have a very strong fever, are attacked by a leopard, get second degree burns all over your legs, or lose the perception of living in your epoch by entering an ancient time that is both past and present,” remembers the publisher. At this point, he came to know that reality could be amended. With a world of possibilities at hand, this belief led him to the concept of crealism.
It is possible that, to some, De Miranda is best known for his Crealist Manifesto, which traveled through the web quite rapidly and has been translated into various languages. Crealism, to the author, is a fabricated reality. It rallies around the idea that society should be more concerned with art and creation and that the world should be our work of art. De Miranda doesn’t believe he invented crealism, but named a concept that would be embraced by many and would be reflected in his later philosophical essays. He claims crealism “asks philosophical and political questions. Why has the idea of creation been so important throughout human history? Who is creating our everyday reality? Are we part of the process or are we just asked to adapt?”
A poet and filmmaker, De Miranda is a man of many artistic talents. In 2004, he directed the short film Quitte ou Double, and began to serve as an editor with Max Milo Publishing Group. Most recently, he created Haute Culture Books, which serves to combine accessibility and artistry.
Through Haute Culture Books, De Miranda hopes to open up new worlds for others, the same tools that provided him diversion during his lonely childhood: an easy getaway that comes from just opening a good book. De Miranda is multilingual, which gives him access to a broad range of literature. He is currently providing English translations of global masterpieces to ensure more people have access to culture. “National masterpieces deserve to be discovered by the global reader, but European books are often not translated into English. The result? Some international literary treasures never reach a larger audience and never take their rightful place as part of our collective cultural heritage”, reads Haute Culture’s mission statement.
By using the funds received from striking, cleverly thought out limited editions, Haute Culture is able to provide free e-books to a larger audience. Haute Culture’s first limited edition tome, Gustave Flaubert’s Felicity: The Tale of the Simple Heart was handmade using silk and gold, with a parrot feather bookmark and comes encased in a birdcage, as a tribute to the parrot which is used, in the book, as a symbol. Next on the list, Hate Culture will be releasing versions of Shatuny, by Yuri Mamleyev, and Truth and Justice by Anton Hansen Tammsaare.
De Miranda’s life experiences and love of art have given him the desire to be surrounded by luxury. It’s the most wonderful kind of luxury as it doesn’t rely on material objects. “Luxury should be at the core of our social contract, not only objects of desire, but also manners, the art of conversation, the art of thinking, the art of relating to one another, the art of trade as a service that delivers much more than what you pay for,” he says. If they are open to it, De Miranda wants to bring to a new audience the luxury of foreign worlds, which otherwise, may not be accessible. ■