In this issue: Marc-Alain Barbot; Tom Barrett; Michael Betancourt; Isabelle B.L; Restif de la Bretonne; Mamie Caton; Norman Conquest; Caroline Crépiat; Art Dandy; farewell debut; Ange Degheest; Jean-Pierre Duffour; Luc Fierens; Jack Granath; Isidore Isou; Amy Kurman; Claude Nicolas Ledoux; Giambattista Palatino; Raymond Queneau; Reese Saxment; Karen Shaw; Doug Skinner; Corinne Taunay; John J. Trause; Tristan Tzara; Cal Wenby; and Femke van der Wijk.
Get in on the ground floor with this collector’s edition.
Marcel Duchamp‘s exile in New York, in 1915-1917, brought him sudden fame and changed the course of his career. Corinne Taunay’s lively and witty study describes the scandals of “Nude Descending a Staircase” and “Fountain,” the creation of the first readymades, and the evolution of Duchamp’s artistic strategies. With 19 illustrations in black and white and in color.
Corinne Taunay is a visual artist and art historian who has contributed to many publications in Europe and the US.
MARCEL DUCHAMP: Paris Air in New York Corinne Taunay Translated from the French by Doug Skinner Paper; 50 pp., 15.24 cm x 19.05 cm; illustrated; color; $14 nonfiction ISBN 979-8-9869224-4-7
Originally released in a limited edition, this vastly expanded version of Black Scat’s Merde à La Belle Époque brings gastric laughter to all of America. This hilarious scatological anthology features verses, stories, songs, and playlets by some of Paris’s most inventive and eccentric comic writers of the period. It includes the exceedingly rare Le Journal des Merdeux — an illustrated broadside devoted entirely to merde. Indeed, upon its publication in 1882, The Little Shits’ Journal was seized by the police and banned. Merde!
This lovely, deodorized paperback edition, designed by Norman Conquest, has been exquisitely compiled, deftly translated, and introduced by Doug Skinner, and includes his erudite and witty notes on the texts.
Return to those raucous years of La Belle Époque when French “shiterature” scandalized Paris.
Those familiar with Tom Whalen’s writing will have already skipped this sentence and jumped to the “buy now” button below. For those who have yet to experience his short fictions, you’re in for a treat.
In Tom Whalen’s Grand Equation ants make their way to the edge of the universe, an old doll rocks her nights away in the attic of an abandoned theater shop, “delivery trucks rumble up from the earth,” flies “feast off the flytrap of the sky,” a room falls in love with its inhabitant, and a man gives birth to a puppet. Populating the whole are troubled old men, grandmothers, a green man and priests, as well as dolls, mice, prose poets, and other fabular fauna. Drawn from Whalen’s work in the field over the past five decades, the sixty-seven prose poems and micro-fictions of The Grand Equation are comic, surreal, philosophical, disquieting and, as John Taylor commented in Michigan Quarterly Review on Whalen’s “Why I Hate the Prose Poem,” “particularly subtle.”
Reading Tom Whalen’s Grand Equation, I am reminded of my early years of writing prose poetry and reading the great masters of the form including Baudelaire, Jacob, Edson, Tate, and Simic. Like the great prose poets before him, Whalen’s work is startling, witty, surreal, and metaphysical. He uses the form to enchant and to entertain, to describe other worlds and offer new windows onto this one. His images, parables, and insights make the absurd seem ordinary and vice versa. And remind me that the world is not as I imagine it to be, and neither am I. This is a collection to ponder, savor and return to.
—NIN ANDREWS, author of The Last Orgasm
THE GRAND EQUATION Prose Poems and Micro-Fictions Tom Whalen $14.95 paperback ISBN 979-8-9859996-8-6
Tom Whalen’s short prose has appeared in Great American Prose Poems, Sudden Fiction, An Introduction to the Prose Poem, The Best of the Prose Poem, A Cast-Iron Aeroplane That Can Actually Fly, Unscheduled Departures, The Party Train and other anthologies. His two selections and translations of short prose by Robert Walser — Girfriends, Ghosts, and Other Stories and Little Snow Landscape — are published with NYRB Classics. His novel The Straw That Broke and collection April Fireball: Early Stories are both available from Black Scat.
It’s back to cool with the great French monologist, humorist, poet, and inventor—in a trenchant translation by Doug Skinner.
***FIRST PUBLICATION IN ENGLISH!***
Born in1842, Charles Cros was one of the most brilliant minds of his generation, equally adept at poetry, fiction, and scientific inquiry. He wrote smutty verses with Verlaine, synthesized gems with Alphonse Allais, contributed wild prose fantasies to Le Chat Noir, and experimented with color photography and sound recording, only to die young, poor, and alcoholic. Not incidentally, he also invented the comic monologue for the actor Coquelin Cadet. In these strikingly spontaneous and modern sketches, he introduces a gallery of fools and obsessives—The Clean Man, The Fencing Master, The Capitalist, The Friend of the Family—all nattering away, assaulting the audience with trivia, and blithely unaware of their own failings.
This edition collects all 22 of Cros’s monologues—masterfully translated & introduced by Doug Skinner—and includes performance notes by Coquelin, plus two biographical essays by his friend and colleague Alphonse Allais.
“The sheer playfulness of certain fanciful parts of Cros’s work must not let us forget that in the center of some of his finest poems, a revolver is aimed at us.”—André Breton
Nominata has gone missing, and her old friend Antonima is looking for her. Can the seven regulars in the Taproom help? Why are there strange lights and noises in the abandoned observatory? And what does the number 5040 have to do with all this?
Doug Skinner describes his novel as “an interactive verbal toy,” and Black Scat urges caution when handling it. On the surface, the text is playful, comic, and wayward. Further immersion, however, reveals elaborate constraints, cross references, and parallels, all creating an artificial world in which everything is a reflection of everything else, including itself. All that and slapstick too!
In 2020, New Urge Editions published Hélène Lavelle‘s controversial erotic novel, The Rites of Ecstasy. Today, we are pleased to announce Volume 2—Le Château du Comte—translated from the French by Valéry Soers.
Summoned back to the Domain, Gabrielle surrenders to the demands of the Vicomtesse, the Comte, and Lady Isabella. Much more than a sequel to The Rites of Ecstasy, this novel takes us beyond the introspective feminine dreaminess of La Maison to a more bracing, hallucinatory, wild and strange terrain of its own—the culmination and climax of ‘the Great Work’ on Gabrielle’s heart, soul, mind and body. A story of dramatic and erotic power – an immersion in another world – exploring the farther shores of female desire, love, hate and friendship, through extremes of pleasure and pain to the heights of the Sublime.
Le Château du Comte by Hélène Lavelle Translated from the French by Valéry Soers A New Urge Paperback Original Trade paper; 315 pp.; $14.95 ISBN 979-8985999648
FREE DOWNLOAD Peek behind the scenes & explore Hélène Lavelle’s novels. Read Dawn Avril Fitzroy’s article “Ruminations on THE RITES OF ECSTASY,” from Black Scat Review#25. Click here to download the free PDF.
In the tradition of Decadent literature, spiced with Gothic, this provocative novel takes the reader on a voyage through dream, reverie, fantasy, memory and imagination – recounting the raptures and tortures in the initiation of a young woman, Gabrielle, by the Vicomtesse, the Comte and their entourage in The Domain.
“This modern classic deserves to be ranked alongside the great French erotic masterpieces, Story of O and The Image , and very few others. Not for the faint-hearted or the narrow-minded, this story of love, excess, degradation, cruelty, tenderness and beauty is for all women whose fantasies and desires embrace the intensely erotic.” —Dawn Avril Fitzroy
Alphonse Allais (1854-1905) was France’s greatest humorist. His elegance, scientific curiosity, preoccupation with language and logic, wordplay and flashes of cruelty inspired Alfred Jarry, as well as succeeding generations of Surrealists, Pataphysicians, and Oulipians.THE SQUADRON’S UMBRELLA collects 39 of Allais’s funniest stories — many originally published in the legendary paper LE CHAT NOIR, written for the Bohemians of Montmartre. Included are such classic pranks on the reader as “The Templars” (in which the plot becomes secondary to remembering the hero’s name) and “Like the Others” (in which a lover’s attempts to emulate his rivals lead to fatal but inevitable results.) These tales have amused and inspired generations, and now English readers can enjoy the master absurdist at his best. As the author promises, this book contains no umbrella and the subject of squadrons is “not even broached.”
This sublime translation by Doug Skinner is one of our most popular titles.
About the Author ALPHONSE ALLAIS (1854 – 1905) began his career in Paris during the Belle Epoque. He was particularly active at the legendary cabaret Le Chat Noir, where he wrote for and edited the weekly paper. He quickly became known for his deadpan wit and inexhaustible imagination. Among other things, he also exhibited some of the first monochromatic pictures (such as his all-white “First Communion of Chlorotic Girls in the Snow” in 1883) and composed the first silent piece of music: “Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man” (1884). Throughout most of his life, he contributed columns several times a week to LE JOURNAL and LE SOURIRE. These pieces were collected into twelve volumes, which he called his “Anthumous Works,” between 1892 and 1902. He also published a collection of his monochromes, ALBUM PRIMO-AVRILESQUE, in 1897, and a novel, L’AFFAIRE BLAIREAU, in 1899, as well as a few plays. His later years were troubled by debt, a bad marriage, and heavy drinking; he died at 59. He was a crucial influence on Alfred Jarry, as well as on the Surrealists: Breton included him in his ANTHOLOGY OF BLACK HUMOR, and Duchamp was reading him on the day he died. Allais’s fascination with wordplay, puns, and holorhymes led Oulipo to call him an “anticipatory plagiarist”; the Pataphysical College dubbed him their “Patacessor.” His books have remained in print in France, and the Académie Alphonse Allais has awarded a literary prize in his honor since 1954.