The lovely “Lewd, Nude & Rude” issue of BLACK SCAT REVIEW has stormed the beach!
As you’ve come to expect, the issue is filled with Sublime Art & Literature — innovative fiction, eye-popping graphics, works in translation, and spicy absurdities. Featuring 131 pages packed with an international cast of contributors: Mark Axelrod; Thomas Barrett; Sebastian Bennett; Giacomo Girolamo Casanova; Norman Conquest; R J Dent; Dawn Avril Fitzroy; Eckhard Gerdes; Alexander Krivitskiy; Amy Kurman; Hélène Lavelle; Marc Levy; Olchar E. Lindsann; Clément Marot; Lilianne Milgrom; Alison Miller; T. Motley; Angelo Pastormerlo; GerardSarnat; Doug Skinner; Valéry Soers; Jean Donneau de Visé; Gregory Wallace; Tom Whalen; and David Williams.
As the first publisher to bring many books by France’s greatest humorist to America — in sublime translations by Doug Skinner — we are happy to share the exceedingly rare photo below. It was recently unveiled by the Musée Alphonse Allais in Honfleur (Allais’s birthplace) and donated by Nicole et Xavier Artus. It shows Alphonse with his wife, Marguerite, and daughter, Paulette, at “La Ferme de la grande cour” (circa 1896). Of the location, Allais wrote: “I go there often, to this rustic inn, half farm, half hotel; I go there to drink a glass of fresh cider, under the apple trees and even have a bite to eat when the heart tells me…”
Below, we have taken the liberty of colorizing the photograph and improving its exposure. We think it brings the image to life.
Happy May Day to Allais and to all our visitors. Help us celebrate by ordering one of the master’s collections here.
Black Scat author Caroline Crépiat poses with her edition of LE CHAT NOIR EXPOSED at the recent exposition of Incohérents art at the l’Olympia in Paris. A true funhouse of exhibits and quite a scandal still, just as the early exposition in 1893 shocked the city. The Incoherents were irrational, satirical, iconoclastic and absurdist, but were they artists asked the public? “Mais oui,” exclaimed Jules Lévy, the founder of the Incoherent Art movement, “but these artists don’t know how to draw.” (haha)
Imagine the gasps of attendees when they spied Alphonse Allais‘s green cab curtain, titled Des souteneurs, encore dans la force de l’âge et le ventre dans l’herbe, boivent de l’absinthe (Pimps still in the prime of life and lying face down in the grass drink absinthe)—one of the earliest monochromes in the history of art!—shocking indeed.
Most of the original Incoherent’s artworks & ephemera did not survive, and could only be seen in 19th century illustrations. But then, in 2021, came a remarkable discovery in France — a large trunk with 17 examples of art by Incoherents, including Allais’s monochrome.
But wait…were these artworks real, or fakes and forgeries? And why was the show limited to only 4 hours of viewing?? (What next? A drive-thru exhibition?)
Experts, such as our friend, artist and critic, Corinne Taunay, have been investigating and discovered that several items (including Allais’s curtain!) aren’t authentic. Mon dieu! — another scandal rocks the Parisienne artworld! This brazen scam appears designed to reap enormous profit (10 million euros, anyone?) off the memory of dead avant-garde rebels.
Meanwhile, here in America where everything is branded “fake” today, we remain respectfully silent on the controversy. However, what we can guarantee is the authenticity of Ms. Crépiat’s LE CHAT NOIR EXPOSED. Indeed, her book is the real deal — translated from the French by the great Doug Skinner — an extraordinary work of scholarship that ‘exposes’ the liveliest fin-de-siècle bohemian cabaret and journal in Paris.
Alfred Jarry spent his brief and turbulent life experimenting with genres of fiction. In his last few years, he created a new fictional form: the absurdist speculative essay. R J Dent’s new English translation of Speculations contains 68 of Jarry’s essays, originally printed between 1901 and 1904 as a series, ‘Spéculations’, in the French journal Le Revue Blanche.
In Jarry’s darkly comic collection of surrealist and satirical prose pieces, the renowned author deploys his characteristic satirical eye and dark humor to devastating effect. These essays range in tone from the wildly comic to the deeply tragic and cover a diversity of subjects, ranging from French Trees to Cannibalism. For Jarry, nothing is sacred; everything is worthy material for his surreal satire; the Passion is presented as a sporting event; buses are the prey of big game hunters, and even the Queen is licked from behind.
SPECULATIONS Alfred Jarry Translated by R J Dent Paper; 5.06 x 7.81 inches; 235 pp., $15.95 ISBN 13 979-8-9859996-1-7
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]
Step right up! The “Funhouse” issue is now available. It walks, it talks, it crawls on its belly like a reptile . . .
Featuring astounding art and fiction by Mark Axelrod; Tom Barrett; David Berger; Norman Conquest; R J Dent; Muriel Falak; Eckhard Gerdes; Richard Gessner; Alfred Jarry; Richard Kostelanetz; Amy Kurman; Mantis; Kate Meyer-Currey; Bob McNeil; Lillianne Milgrom; Lance Olsen; Paul Rosheim; Doug Skinner; Nile Southern; and Jim Yoakum.
A second edition of Denis Diderot‘s From Their Lips to His Ear (Pocket Erotica #6) is also available. It features a delicious illustration on the flyleaf. Diderot, of course, was the highly celebrated 18th century French philosopher & editor of the groundbreaking Encyclopédie. In 1748, in need of money, he wrote this scandalous and satiric libertine allegory — Les Bijoux Indiscrets —whose hero, a sultan, is in possession of a magic ring. This exquisite little edition has been edited by Lawrence Hamilton.
“Pierre Louÿs is one of the great and glorious erotomaniacs of the end of the nineteenth century.” — André Pierre de Mandiargues
In 2016 we published The New Pleasure & other storiesby Louÿs, which is currently out of print. Below, the cover (at left), and (at right) a provocative design which never appeared.
Meanwhile, the first English translation of Alphonse Allais‘s Loves, Delights, & Organs (translated from the French by Doug Skinner) is now available. This is the thirteenth volume in our unrivaled Alphonse Allais Collection.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST…. the “funhouse” issue of BLACK SCAT REVIEW has rolled into town.
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
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.
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