FICTION ON THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE

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.


Extremes of Female Desire

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.


ALSO AVAILABLE

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

HONK THOSE HORNS! … BRING ON THE NOISES!

photo by Jim McMenamin

The Fourth of July is a noisy holiday, and this year it’s going to be even noisier, as it’s Black Scat’s 10th anniversary. Thus, it’s fitting that we’ve launched Luigi Russolo‘s Italian Futurist classic, THE ART OF NOISES, in a new translation by Doug Skinner. The book includes a seminal introduction by Skinner, as well as his copious notes on the translation. Originally released in Milan by Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia in 1916, this text was a sonic boom that awakened 20th-century avant-garde musical aesthetics and inspired generations of experimental composers.

In the words of Daniel Matei, it was THE ART OF NOISES that “elevated Russolo to the level of Marinetti and Boccioni.”

Artist Norman Conquest has designed our edition and crafted a near facsimile of the original Italian volume, while adding a few obstreperous flourishes of his own. We hope you’ll celebrate Scat’s ten years by ordering a copy of this gem — #44 in our legendary Absurdist Texts & Documents series.

Have a BLAST this summer and make some noise!

THE ART OF NOISES
Luigi Russolo
Translated from the Italian by Doug Skinner
Absurdist Texts & Documents No. 44
A Zang Tumb Tumb Edition
Paperback, illustrated; 134 pp., $15
ISBN: 979-8-9859996-2-4

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Luigi Russolo (1885-1947) was born into a musical family in Portogruaro, Italy. As a child, he studied violin and piano, but decided to switch to painting. When F. T. Marinetti launched Futurism in 1909, Russolo soon became one of its principal members. In 1913, he wrote a manifesto, “L’Arte dei rumori” (“The Art of Noises”), proclaiming a new music based on noises; he spent the next few years building instruments, giving concerts, and expanding his manifesto into a book. A war injury in 1917 slowed him down, but he continued painting and giving concerts throughout the ‘20s, as well as building several “noise harmoniums.” In the ‘30s he became interested in the occult, and wrote a long philosophical dialogue called Al di là della materia (Beyond Matter), arguing for a society based on spirituality. He died in 1947. Although his scores and instruments were lost in World War II, his ideas continue to fascinate and influence many musicians. 

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Doug Skinner  has translated many books from the French and Italian, including works by Alphonse Allais, Pierre-Corneille Blessebois, Caroline Crépiat, Charles Cros, Alfred Jarry, and Giovanni Battista Nazari. Black Scat has published several books of his fiction (Sleepytime Cemetery, The Snowman Three Doors Down), cartoons (The Unknown Adjective, Shorten the Classics), and music (The Doug Skinner Songbook). He has contributed to The Fortean Times, Strange Attractor Journal, Cabinet, Fate, Weirdo, Nickelodeon, Black Scat Review, and other fine periodicals. His musical activities include scores for dance (ODC-San Francisco, Margaret Jenkins), as well as several shows by actor/clown Bill Irwin, including The Regard of Flight, The Courtroom, and The Harlequin Studies; his albums That Regrettable Weekend and It All Went Pfft are available on Bandcamp. 

viva l'italia!

AMERICAN RADICAL

“As with Joyce Carol Oates’s Blonde, Harold Jaffe’s Brando Bleeds is the best kind of biographical fiction — perceptive, inventive, richly thematic, and truer than true. That his concisely rendered composite of Brando gives us such a full portrait of its subject is nothing short of a miracle.”  —Tom Whalen


As BLACK SCAT approaches its 10th anniversary (July 4th), we’re excited to announce the publication of a major new novel by Harold Jaffe—one of America’s most innovative writers and thinkers.

BRANDO BLEEDS is a “docufictional” version of the life of renegade cultural icon Marlon Brando. Harold Jaffe seamlessly weds biographical fact and fiction, breathing new life into Brando as shaman/showman, an anti-Hollywood “movie star” whose radical politics forced him to confront the inevitable contradiction between rebel/activist and capitalist avatar. Drawn from biographical sources and Brando’s films, the author unveils Brando as a unique artist who both witnesses and introjects the world in pain.

BRANDO BLEEDS
A Novel by Harold Jaffe
Paperback; 181 pp., $14.95
ISBN 979-8985999655


CRITICAL PRAISE FOR HAROLD JAFFE

Each of Jaffe’s volumes has been groundbreaking. He has written some of the most innovative fiction of our time.   —Toby Olson

EROS ANTI-EROS is… a wonder of deadpan humor, biting wit and visual beauty. No recent fiction has gripped me with such force and immediacy.   —Marianne Hauser

From the docufictional shards of GOOSESTEP emerges a savage prophetic voice as grief-maddened as Isis picking through the bones on illusion’s killing floor to reassemble a dream that cannot be reanimated.   —Patricia Eakins

As TERROR-DOT-GOV vividly demonstrates: We are spiritually imperiled by illusions masked as “news.” Omissions, slants, pallid editorials all testifying to servitude to a slavish, enslaving “text.” Harold Jaffe knows this by heart.  Everywhere in Terror-dot-Gov, is exemplary skill, faultless tonality, and courage. Don’t forget courage.    Daniel Berrigan, SJ

The bravura essays in Harold Jaffe’s collection, REVOLUTIONARY BRAIN, challenge the conscience and consciousness of their readers. This witty and explosive book is an indictment of injustice and spurious morality and a call to art and enlightened activism as healing alternatives. —Jonathan Baumbach

Harold Jaffe’s SACRIFICE is an omnidirectional cry of alarm and call to action…[his] adept prose is a heart-filled and intellectualized reaction to terrestrial issues, a combination of rage, revulsion, and an implied plea for amelioration—in the fullest form of self-sacrifice.   Sebastian Bennett

“Jaffe’s convincing portraits of the dispossessed are moving, insightful glimpses of the human spirit under stress.” —New York Times Book Review

As always, Jaffe’s writing is moving, comical, marvelously deft.” —Washington Post



NEW FICTION COLLECTION

SACRIFICE is perhaps Harold Jaffe’s most personal book, while at the same time assaulting the assaulters of an earth in its final throes. As always, the assaults are brilliantly multi-faceted: “unsituated” dialogues, razor-sharp satire, faux-reportage, precisely cadenced rhetoric, and a deep spirit-feeling for the disappeared and dispossessed—human, animal, and plant.

Each of Jaffe’s volumes has been groundbreaking. He has written some of the most innovative fiction of our time.Toby Olson

Harold Jaffe’s latest work, Sacrifice, is an omnidirectional cry of alarm and call to action concerning the multifarious and often extinction-level problems facing our world. In a series of insightful and often ironic short texts, ranging from docufiction tosocio-philosophical commentary and self-examination, beginning with references to Greek philosophers and meandering through the most critical issues of our day, Jaffe’s adept prose is a heart-filled and intellectualized reaction to terrestrial issues, a combination of rage, revulsion, and an implied plea for amelioration—in the fullest form of self-sacrifice, if necessary. Sebastian Bennett

SACRIFICE
Harold Jaffe
A BlackScat Paperback Original
140 pp., 7.13 x 7.25 inches; $12.95
ISBN 979-8-9859996-0-0


CRITICAL PRAISE FOR HAROLD JAFFE:

From the docufictional shards of GOOSESTEP emerges a savage prophetic voice as grief-maddened as Isis picking through the bones on illusion’s killing floor to reassemble a dream that cannot be reanimated.—Patricia Eakins

As TERROR-DOT-GOV vividly demonstrates: We are spiritually imperiled by illusions masked as “news.” Omissions, slants, pallid editorials all testifying to servitude to a slavish, enslaving “text.” Harold Jaffe knows this by heart. Everywhere in Terror-dot-Gov, is exemplary skill, faultless tonality, and courage. Don’t forget courage. —Daniel Berrigan, SJ


“Jaffe’s convincing portraits of the dispossessed are moving, insightful glimpses of the human spirit under stress.” —New York Times Book Review


As always, Jaffe’s writing is moving, comical, marvelously deft.”
Washington Post


Also Available from Black Scat:

This collection of Harold Jaffe’s short, one-act plays is exceptionally diverse. The nine innovative dramas feature Billie Holiday & Lester Young; Antonin Artaud & Georges Bataille; Marilyn Monroe & Marlon Brando; Samuel Beckett; condemned prisoners in Texas making their final statement before execution; Israelis & Palestinians in life-or-death dialogue; Charles Manson unleashed; Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin & Jim Morrison burning it at both ends; & the potently satirical “Splish Splash,” exploring gender discord.

AN ‘ANTHUMOUS’ WORK BY ALPHONSE ALLAIS

The master absurdist is back in LOVES, DELIGHTS, & ORGANS (Amours, délices et orgues). This madcap collection of stories, fables, hoaxes and jokes is pataphysical fun for the literate layabout. This first English translation features 47 sublime textual specimens — PLUS six additional stories, a rousing introduction, and enlightening notes on the translation by Allaisian scholar Doug Skinner. If you’ve yet to discover the bizarre world of Alphonse Allais, you’re in for a treat.

“Allais comes across as a very modern writer, and his work as an experimental enterprise which is exemplary in many ways… it is also quite possible to invoke such writers as Raymond Queneau, Italo Calvino, and Jorge Luis Borges.”  Jean-Marie Defays


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

   Alphonse Allais was born in the Northern port town of Honfleur, in Calvados, on October 20, 1854. He was, therefore, born in the same town as Erik Satie, and on the same day as Arthur Rimbaud. His father was a pharmacist, and sent young Alphonse to Paris to learn the family trade. Young Alphonse mostly cut his classes, and steeped himself in the absinthe-soaked delights of bohemian Montmartre.

   He joined the hard-drinking literary coterie the Hydropathes, accompanied the celebrated prankster Sapeck (Eugène Bataille) on his misadventures, submitted monochromatic pictures to the proto-Dada exhibitions of the Incohérents, and wrote squibs for various ephemeral papers. He became adept, in both word and deed, at the unique Parisian discipline of fumisme: a heady mix of hoaxing, provocation, and iconoclasm, all delivered with deadpan aplomb. Although he’d abandoned chemistry, his scientific credentials gave him a perspective (and persona) that set him apart from the more febrile poets around him. He was often likened to an English schoolmaster, with a placid demeanor that made his wild ideas all the more startling. [from the introduction by Doug Skinner]

MIND YOUR MANNERS

Pierre Louÿs wrote this scandalous and salacious satirical work in 1917, yet it wasn’t published until 1926, after his death. Originally titled Manuel de civilité pour les petites filles à l’usage des maisons d’éducation, it was the author’s first published erotic work—issued anonymously in Paris, with no date nor publisher’s imprint.

A Handbook of Manners for the Good Girls of France parodies the educational handbooks of the day, as well as popular guides to etiquette. But unlike the author’s elegantly sensual ouvre, including Les Chansons de Bilitis and Aphrodite: mœurs antiques, this is Louÿs’ most radical and subversive book — aimed directly at middle-class puritanism, mocking the hypocrisy and complacency of the Belle Époque. It attacks religion and social norms with equal vigor— a sharp slap in the face of censors and prudes.

It’s also very funny.

A HANDBOOK OF MANNERS FOR THE GOOD GIRLS OF FRANCE
Pierre Louÿs
Translated from the French by Lono Taggers
Paperback; 70 pp., illustrated; $12
Pocket Erotica #23 / New Urge
ISBN 13 978-1-7379430-6-8


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pierre Louÿs, poet and novelist, was born in Belgium but spent his life in France. He is best known for his erotic works, many with sapphic and classical themes. His most popular titles include Aphrodite: mœurs antiques; Trois Filles de leur mère; Le Trophée de vulves légendaires; Poésies érotiques; La Femme et le pantin; and Les Chansons de Bilitis. His contributions to French erotic literature remain unequaled.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

Originally published in 1894 under the title Les Chansons de Bilitis, this provocative collection of poetry was purportedly translated from the Ancient Greek but was, in fact, the product of the imagination of French poet Pierre Louÿs

A faux contemporary of the poet Sappho, Bilitis offers the modern reader these seductive, sensual, and unashamed celebrations of female sexuality. 

A beautiful book for the bedside.

LIPS OF BILITIS
Pierre Louÿs
Translated by Lono Taggers
Illustrations by Willy Pogány
Paperback; 186 pp., $14
New Urge Editions / Black Scat Books
ISBN 978-1-7379430-5-1

START THE NEW YEAR WITH A BLAST OF LAUGHTER

Comic artist Doug Skinner aims his poisoned pen at 52 works of classic literature—from The Iliad to Ubu Roi—whittling them down to four cartoon panels. It’s a constraint worthy of Georges Perec — an OuBapoian*collection of black humor guaranteed to set funny bones on fire. 

Shorten the Classics is brilliant — albeit abbreviated — fun. If you want to read the classics, but don’t have time, this book is for you.

Grab a copy before it’s too late!

Shorten the Classics
Doug Skinner
Absurdist Texts & Documents #43
paperback; 116 pp.;
5.06 x 7.81 inches; $14
ISBN 978-1-7373711-3-7


*Oubapo: Ouvroir de bande dessinée potentielle: ”workshop of potential comic book art”)

A Mysterious Divertissement

A dead body is discovered in a  boarding-house in Southampton, England. It looks like murder, but  whodunnit? — howdunnit? — the room was locked!

Devised by one of the world’s  greatest humorists —
P. G. Wodehouse — this witty, puzzling, impossible crime, offers all the pleasures a mystery-lover could wish for.

It makes a bloody fine stocking stuffer, too.

MURDER IMPOSSIBLE
A Locked Room Mystery
P. G. Wodehouse
paperback; 82 pp.,
4½ x 7 inches; $12.50
ISBN 978-1-7379430-7-5

**This book is only available for sale in the USA.