FIRST PUBLICATION IN ENGLISH

The Pope’s Mustard-Maker (Le Moutardier du pape) was the last work that Alfred Jarry finished, a few months before his death in 1907. It is a bawdy three-act farce loosely based on the medieval legend of Pope Joan, with a huge cast and lively songs bubbling with rhymes and wordplay.

Readers who know Jarry only from Ubu or his novels may be surprised that he wrote operettas, but his are fully Jarryesque, with his usual gusto for smutty jokes, legend, folklore, puns, wild invention, and popular theater. In his hands, Pope Joan becomes Jane, who runs off with her lover and disguises herself as pope. How will she pass inspection on the slotted chair? What will she do when her husband shows up? And has there ever been another production number celebrating the spiritual virtues of enemas?

A sublime translation from the French by Doug Skinner.

Click to order this avant-garde masterpiece

 

Alfred Jarry Lives!…Encore!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pope’s Mustard-Maker (Le Moutardier du pape) was the last work that Alfred Jarry finished, a few months before his death in 1907. It is a bawdy three-act farce loosely based on the medieval legend of Pope Joan, with a huge cast and lively songs bubbling with rhymes and wordplay.

Readers who know Jarry only from Ubu or his novels may be surprised that he wrote operettas, but his are fully Jarryesque, with his usual gusto for smutty jokes, legend, folklore, puns, wild invention, and popular theater. In his hands, Pope Joan becomes Jane, who runs off with her lover and disguises herself as pope. How will she pass inspection on the slotted chair? What will she do when her husband shows up? And has there ever been another production number celebrating the spiritual virtues of enemas?

This is the first translation of this major work; it also includes an introduction and notes by the translator, Doug Skinner.

All hail The Pope’s Mustard-Maker!

THE POPE’S MUSTARD-MAKER
by Alfred Jarry
Translated from the French by Doug Skinner
Absurdist Texts & Documents #37
135 pp., paper, $12.95

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

 

Green is the New Black

Have you seen The Book With the Green Cover?

It’s a collection of verbo-visual treats by Norman Conquest. It features posters, charts, mock book & magazine covers, rectified readymades, typographic diversions, found novels, and other detritus. It’s profusely illustrated with color plates and silverware.

Available now, just in time for summer. Be the first kid on the block to take this coffee table chapbook to the beach!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY

 

Are we bilious? Don’t be sillious!

No bile here. Make that, NO BILE!  is here!—Alphonse Allais‘s sublime collection of absurdist texts in a new translationfirst publication in English!by the great Doug Skinner.

Alphonse Allais’s third collection finds him in full anti-bilious form: love stories, revenge stories, monologues, short-shorts, and animal stories—all affronting the reader with startlingly modern absurdity, black humor, and wordplay.

“No Oulipian could fail to be enchanted by his essentially ironic tales, in which he juggles the rhetorical and narrative components of writing with rigorous logic and inexhaustibly zany results.”Harry Mathews

Among the highlights are “Absinthes,” an internal monologue about the Green Fairy; “Poor Césarine,” a tale of obsessive love; and “A Good Society,” which proposes collecting used matches for the poor. As a bonus, six uncollected stories are included. PLUS illustrations and informative notes on the text by Doug Skinner.

So don’t be bilious, grab your copy now on Amazon. Start your summer off with blasts of laughter!

drawing by Doug Skinner

Discover all the titles in Black Scat’s ALPHONSE ALLAIS COLLECTION

CLICK TO ORDER

 

 

 

 

 

“Why, That’s Patently Absurd!”

Yes, indeed—Pas de Bile!—another  patently absurd volume in Black Scat’s seminal Alphonse Allais Collection.

This will be the book’s first publication in English, with a sublime and inspired translation by the great Doug Skinner. In addition to the complete text of the original Flammarion edition, published in France in 1893, it will include  several uncollected stories by Allais. There will also be Skinner’s  copious notes on each text, and an informative and entertaining introduction. Throw in this eye-catching cover by Norman Conquest and you’ve got an edition worthy of display in your home or office.

Publication: Late Summer, 2018

And while you’re waiting, be sure to read Alphonse Allais’s LONG LIVE LIFE!


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.

Sucker Punch Gala in NYC

(photo by Karina Tarnawsky)

If you were in NYC on June 15th and missed the BLACK SCAT SUCKER PUNCH bout between high lit  heavyweight champs Yuriy Tarnawsky (seated)) and Alain Arias-Mission —shame on you! You missed a bloody good reading.

The Emily Harvey Foundation. provided ringside seats,  booze & noisemakers  to an unruly crowd of fans. Tarnawsky threw wicked upper-cuts from his classic collection of “short shrift fictions,” CROCODILE SMILES, while Arias-Misson responded with  a blazing left hook from his new novel THE DETECTIVE WHO DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE.

Fortunately all is not lost, as both books are available on Amazon and just a click away.

 

 

Monsieur Godeau, party of one, your table is waiting…

blazac

“It is upon this one comedy that Balzac can lay any claims as a dramatic artist.”
—The New York Times

If you missed the limited edition published in 2013, the wait is over. Mark Axelrod’s translation of this obscure comedy by Balzac is now available worldwide on Amazon in a handsome paperback edition.

Originally presented under the title Mercadet or The Good Businessman, this play in three acts appears to have inspired the creation of the unseen character in Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Indeed, 102 years before Godot ‘s debut, Mercadet opened at the Theatre du Gymnase-Dramatique in Paris and—curiously enough—featured a character named “Godeau” who never appears on stage.

A comic coincidence? One of life’s little absurdities?

The translator met and corresponded with Beckett, and in WAITING FOR GODEAU we present an unpublished letter from Beckett in which the burning question is answered.

Or is it?

You be the judge.

WAITING FOR GODEAU
by Honore de Balzac
Translated from the French by Mark Axelrod
5.06″ x 7.81″ (12.852 x 19.837 cm)
trade paperback; 154 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0692738108
$12.95

CLICK HERE TO ORDER ON AMAZON

Right ho! Let the games begin and the plot thicken!

damsel_final

We can’t think of a better way to kick off the summer than with  the launch of this delightful comic novel by the great P. G. Wodehouse.  Originally published in America in 1919, A Damsel in Distress is vintage Wodehouse—a whimsical romance filled with amusing twists and turns and a cast of memorable characters. The novel was adapted into a Hollywood musical starring Fred Astaire, Joan Fontaine, George Burns, and Gracie Allen.

This handsome Black Scat trade paperback edition features original illustrations by artist Allen Forrest.

We invite you to stretch out in the hammock with a chilled cocktail and this unforgettable farce.

A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS
by P.G. Wodehouse
with illustrations by Allen Forrest

$14.95
Trade paperback; 334 pages
5.06″ x 7.81″ (12.852 x 19.837 cm)
ISBN-13: 978-0692724491

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pg2Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (1881 – 1975) was one of the most popular humorists of the twentieth century. The author of nearly 100 books, he is best known as the creator of the Bertie Wooster and Jeeves series and the novels and stories set at Blandings Castle. In the words of Evelyn Waugh, “Mr. Wodehouse’s idyllic world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in.” Indeed, in the wondrous land of Wodehouse a faux pas often constitutes a crisis and the farce of human foibles rules the realm. The master’s intricately designed plots are peppered with potholes for his characters to stumble over, the street signs have all been mischievously switched and identities mistaken – yet all roads lead to a happy end.