Word-Freaks of the World, Unite!


A new year, a new imprint: Black Scat Scholastic Classics (“A Wealth of Knowledge at Your Fingertips”), our premiere educational reference series.

We’re pleased to announce the first volume in the series—The Complete Unabridged Lexicon by Opal Louis Nations. Excerpts from this seminal (albeit eccentric) dictionary have appeared over the years in obscure little magazines and avant-garde broadsides, but now Black Scat Books unleashes the entire unexpurgated edition in a deluxe 128-page trade paperback.  OUT OF PRINT


As for the OED…it’s time to toss that dusty dinosaur in the dumpster and make room for this contemporary masterpiece which, according to The Brighton Daily Herald “…gives new meaning to the word definition.”


Opal Louis Nationsphoto by Ellen Nations

Opal Louis Nations was born in Brighton, England. During the mid-1960s he worked as lead vocalist in London clubs with the late Alexis Korner’s Band, and later his own group, The Frays. He helped popularize American soul-based R&B and gospel music in Great Britain. After brief periods with various London R&B bands, he turned his back on singing and began a career as an experimental fiction writer. His textual work, sometimes strange, sometimes humorous in nature, appeared in over 200 small press magazines around the world. He is the author of over 30 books of fiction, including The Strange Case of Inspector Loophole (Véhicule Press), Stabbed to Death with Artificial Respiration (Coach House Press), and Etiquette for Ladies and Gentlemen of Good Society (Obscure Publications), as well as drawings and collage. As an editor, he brought to the public’s attention fresh young poets and writers, both in the publication of books and through his literary magazine periodical, Strange Faeces. Nations currently spends his time interviewing gospel performers, writing articles on a regular basis for Blues & Rhythm, Soul Bag, and Dr. Jazz magazines (to name a few), conducting music research and compiling CD reissues for English and U.S. record companies.

Grok Gracq


I discovered the surrealist novels of Julian Gracq many years ago. I encountered an out of print copy of A Dark Stranger at Gotham Book Mart in NYC. Gotham was my home away from home. It specialized in avant-garde literature and carried books you couldn’t find anywhere else: rare chapbooks, pamphlets, and esoteric tomes.


This hardcover edition of Gracq’s novel was published in 1951 by New Directions. It was one of those rare books with an aura that compels one to possess it. (an experience you don’t find with a digital book.) The cover design by Gertrude Huston  cleverly omitted the title and author’s name, conjuring a faceless stranger.


image courtesy of 50 Watts

One surrealist oddity—although obviously unintentional—was that the title on the flap (as well as the spine) was printed as The Dark Stranger, while the title page correctly identified it as A Dark Stranger.

An anomaly like that can drive up the value of an edition—especially when there are multiple printings.

One of the pleasures of publishing is providing readers with the potential of experiencing the aura of unusual books. Eccentric art and literature that doesn’t surface on the shelves at Barnes & Noble.


Merry Xmas from the NRA

Merry Xmas from the NRA

from IT’S FUN TO BE RICH IN AMERICA by Norman Conquest & Michael Leigh

UPDATED (12/14) A young man clad in black and carrying two handguns shot up an elementary school in a small Connecticut town on Friday, leaving 18 small children and eight adults dead in one the nation’s worst school massacres, law enforcement officials said.

We think it’s long past time America gets rid of the NRA lobby and the politicians they’ve paid off.

The Perils of Science & Other Divertissements

Les périls de la science
Les périls de la science

We’re giddy over our lineup of new titles for 2013. Among the offerings…


• Adventures in Pataphysics—an anonymous classic of “imaginary solutions,” profusely illustrated in a deluxe limited edition. You can reserve a copy now by sending an email to blackscat@outlook.com  No payment necessary, simply indicate that you’d like us to set one aside for you. The book is guaranteed to sell out quickly.

• Also in the wings, Captain Cap (Volume One) by the great Alphonse Allais.  Faithfully translated from the French by Doug Skinner, this is the first in an exclusive, multi-volume series. This is the only English translation—a literary landmark—and a must-have for fans of the master absurdist.

• To start 2013 off with a grand guffaw, we’re serving up A Cami Sampler on New Year’s Day. Consider this a spicy dessert by a slightly mad French chef: ten cockeyed microdramas by Pierre Henri Cami, including 9-pages of his rare drawings. Translated by Paris-based Cami-connoisseur John Crombie, this collection is a scrumptious treat by a writer Charlie Chaplin hailed as “the greatest humorist in the world.”

And that’s just the tip of the smorgasbord, as Black Scat is also publishing works by Pedro Carolino, Florence Bocherel, Farewell Debut, Alain Arias-Misson and others. Plus new issues of Black Scat Review.

pata-smileSolution imaginaire: Décodage sourire de Mona Lisa  (from Adventures in ‘Pataphysics)

Happy New Year, All!