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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.

FRENCH HUMOR + WORDPLAY

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.

THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH!

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.

Ladies and gents, grab your copy now!


TOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Just in time for Xmas — all the world’s knowledge in a single stocking stuffer!

Le Scat Noir Encyclopédie et Dictionnaire de la Pataphsique, des arts et du savoir humain, par une société d’hommes et de femmes de lettres (volume deux) has arrived. This sublime paperback encyclopedia packs everything you need for a successful life of the mind into a single volume. Over 100 pages! This profusely illustrated edition is a must-have for collectors of arcane facts, bizarre biographies, astounding science, impossible inventions, and cryptic definitions. You’ll find everything under the sun from Absentee to Zyborg.

Featuring over 40 distinguished experts from around the globe, including: Adrienne Auvray, Mark Axelrod, Tom Barrett, Norman Conquest, Caroline Crépiat, René Descartes, Peter Gambaccini, Eckhard Gerdes, Charles Holdefer, Rhys Hughes, Tractor Inspector, Alfred Jarry, M. Kasper, Richard Kostelanetz, Amy Kurman, Librairie Larousse, Michael Leigh, Olchar E. Lindsann, Musée Patamécanique, Opal Louis Nations, Daren Elsa Nibelly, Dr. Novalis, Pata-No , Richard Peabody, Mercie Pedro, Derek Pell, Charlotte Porter, Frank Pulaski, Jason E. Rolfe, Sourav Roy, Dr. I. L. Sandomir, Paulette Single, Doug Skinner, Maddy Smith, Linda Klieger Stillman, Corinne Taunay, Text Fixer, Kimberly Vodicka, Tom Whalen, Femke van der Wijk, Carla Wilson.

Order now and we’ll include this lovely back cover…

“You can’t judge a book by its barcode.” —Norman Conquest

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

 

In the wings…some peculiar things

Watch for this extraordinary collection of works by the great Stefan Themerson who, with his wife, the artist Franciszka, founded the legendary Gaberbocchus Press  (London, 1948-1979). A poet, publisher, novelist, filmmaker, composer and philosopher, Stefan Themerson was a giant force in the avant-garde of the 20th century. A magus, a magician, his books are filled with wisdom, absurd humor, and dazzling ideas. His  unique vision is more relevant today than ever, and thanks to Paul Rosheim, Black Scat will be bringing you Critics and My Talking Dog: Selected Stories, Essays, Lectures & a Play.   

As the force behind Obscure Publications, Rosheim (with the guidance of British art critic, and founder of the Themerson Archive Jasia Reichardt) published a number of  limited edition chapbooks by Themerson. He is busy  compiling this seminal introduction to Stefan’s texts. The book will also  feature an introduction by noted art historian and artist Nick Wadley.

 



By the author of The Book with the Green Cover, smells like teen ‘pataphysics features signs of the phenomenon, oscillating pyramids, and  luminous vapors. This unexpurgated edition is illustrated with ubu-dystopian charts,  unpublished diagrams, newly discovered schemata, and rare illuminated photographs.  Also included  are Norman Conquest‘s groundbreaking philosophical experiments—triumphs as well as failures— which will inspire  aspiring  illuminati here and abroad.

 

LET THERE BE LAUGHTER!

Just in time for the holidays, THE ALPHONSE ALLAIS READER has arrived!

Drawn from Black Scat’s eight editions of the master French absurdist, this compendium is a sublime introduction to the wordplay and black humor that shocked and dazzled Bohemian Paris in the raucous “Banquet Years.” The READER includes the celebrated pataphysical text “A Thoroughly Parisian Drama”—a favorite of both André Breton and the Oulipians—as well as stories, plays, an excerpt from his only novel, and the classic exploits of Captain Cap and Francisque Sarcey. The translator, Doug Skinner, has added copious notes and an illuminating introduction.

Step into the funhouse! Laughs and surprises await!

CLICK HERE to order on Amazon.

 

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The Three Faces of Masks

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Black Scat launched its first book on July 4th, 2012. MASKS by Alphonse Allais was #1 in our Absurdist Texts & Documents  series of limited edition chapbooks. The original volume (above left)—adapted, translated and illustrated by artist Norman Conquest—was  limited to only 50 copies. It sold  out quickly and is a prized collector’s item today.

In 2015, we issued a revised and expanded edition (center) featuring an introduction and notes on the text by Allaisian scholar Doug Skinner.

The first two editions had limited distribution and were only available directly from the printer.  Today we’re launching a third edition of this mischievous pataphysical tale — available on Amazon in North America and Europe.

If you missed this little gem, CLICK HERE TO ORDER FROM AMAZON.

View our complete Alphonse Allais Collection

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