The first PUBLICATION IN ENGLISH
of Jarry‘s OUTRAGEOUS comic operetta
TRANSLATED BY DOUG SKINNER
Absurdist Texts & Documents #37
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.
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
What happens when you combine patriotism and ‘pataphysics (the science of imaginary solutions)? That’s right, you get a big BANG and fireworks — all packed inside the new
LE SCAT NOIR.
The July issue features incendiary works by Alain Arias-Misson, Paulo Brito, Norman Conquest, Mitchell Eva, Eckhard Gerdes, Harold Jaffe, Alfred Jarry, Richard Kostelanetz, Terri Lloyd, Frank Pulaski, Jason E. Rolfe, Paul Rosheim, Mercie Pedro e Silva, and Doug Skinner.
#225 marks the first interactive edition with “live” links and an EXCLUSIVE screen-video of Alfred Jarry’s resurrection!
The book Black Scat was born to publish!
Francisque Sarcey was the most influential drama critic in 1890s Paris — and the most conservative. He famously dismissed Alfred Jarry‘s Ubu Roi as “a filthy fraud that deserves nothing but the silence of contempt.” The brilliant humorist Alphonse Allais transformed Sarcey into an Ubuesque piñata in a series of columns published under Sarcey’s name in the newspaper Le Chat Noir.
The pseudo-Sarcey became a prattling idiot, bragging about his appetite and complaining about his impotence, a memorable comic character who often eclipsed the original. This sustained journalistic prank — compiled and translated by Doug Skinner — is destined to become a classic of black humor.
Add this gem to your collection and celebrate April Fools all year long.
I AM SARCEY
Translated from the French by Doug Skinner
Includes an introduction and complete notes on the text
$12.95 / trade paperback, 218 pp.,
CLICK HERE to view all the titles in our Alphonse Allais Collection.
And here’s a GIFT, the April Fools Issue of LE SCAT NOIR.
PREVIEW AND DOWNLOAD HERE
“A badass work of concentrated hallucination.”—Nile Southern
Discover the perils of science in this bizarre classic of “imaginary solutions.” Profusely illustrated in color and b/w. This is a reprint of the rare limited edition published by Black Scat in 2013.
ADVENTURES IN ‘PATAPHYSICS
5.25″ x 8.25″ – perfect-bound paper, 64 pp., illustrated in black & white and full color
‘PATAPHYSICS / SCIENCE
Black Scat Books is proud to add D. Harlan Wilson to its list of luminaries. This is the renegade author’s first collection of plays, and it’s guaranteed to provoke standing ovations — or perhaps we should say “fistfights in the orchestra” as Jarry’s Ubu Roi did so long, long ago.
Over the last two decades, D. Harlan Wilson has established himself as a writer of avant-garde fiction that has been called many names, ranging from speculative, literary and postmodern to irreal, bizarro, absurdist and “splatter-schtick.” Some say he defies categorization and is a genre unto himself. In THREE PLAYS, Wilson subverts traditional forms of stagecraft, unmans the helm of narrative, and exposes the nightmares that distinguish everyday life in urban and suburban America. Channeling Samuel Beckett and Jon Fosse in one scene, Russell Edson and Alfred Jarry in the next, he subjects actors as much as audiences and readers to mindless violence and torrid irrationality under the auspices of literary theory, psychoanalysis, philosophy and science. These plays belong more to an ultramodern zoo than a modern-day theater. In “The Triangulated Diner,” a Camero fishtails across the stage and runs over actors as jungle animals attack the audience. An elephant is hung onstage by a crane for stomping on the head of an abusive handler in “The Dark Hypotenuse.” “Primacy” finds a husband and wife struggling to write the perfect obituary, ideally one that includes wuxia death matches and flying holy men . . . This collection describes a microcosm that is at once uncanny and familiar, weird and ordinary, comedic and horrific. Wilson puts the human condition on trial and challenges us to view theatrics in a different light.
Who was the hippest cat to ever hang his hat at Le Chat Noir in Paris? Alfred Jarry? Erik Satie? Apollinaire? No! Alphonse Allais, of course — the fellow who experimented with holorhymes, invented conceptual art, and created the earliest known example of a silent musical composition: Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man (1884). Furthermore, you don’t need a Time Machine to travel back to 1893 to read Allais’s oddly titled collection Le parapluie de l’escouade. In fact — thanks to Doug Skinner’s inspired translation — you don’t even have to read French to enjoy all 39 wickedly funny texts in The Squadron’s Umbrella because Black Scat Books has launched its first publication in English. Yes, it’s another coup for this little house, and a landmark for lovers of French literature and Pataphysical humor.
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.”
THE SQUADRON’S UMBRELLA
by Alphonse Allais
Translated with an introduction, notes and illustrations by Doug Skinner
6” x 9”, trade paperback. 160 pp., Illustrated.
$12.95 / ISBN -13 978-0692392126
FICTION / FRENCH LITERATURE / HUMOR
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM BLACK SCAT BOOKS:
Captain Cap: His Adventures, His Ideas, His Drinks by Alphonse Allais
Translated by Doug Skinner
Selected Plays of Alphonse Allais
Compiled and translated by Doug Skinner
Just in time for the pataphysical New Year, a faux facsimile edition of Aventures dans la ‘pataphysique, which was originally published in Paris in 1951 by Éditions du Sagittaire.
Released in the U.S. by Black Scat in 2013, the limited edition of ADVENTURES IN ‘PATAPHYSICS (Absurdist Texts & Documents #13) sold out quickly. We’re pleased to announce a reprint of that rare edition.
Discover the Jarryesque joys, thrills, and perils of science in a bizarre classic of “imaginary solutions.” With French text and illustrations throughout, this anonymous gem happens to be one of the strangest books we’ve ever published (and that’s saying quite a lot).
$15.00 / $7.50 digital edition
Perfect-bound, illustrated, 64 pp. / Second Printing
‘PATAPHYSICS / SCIENCE / ART / ABSURDISM / FRENCH LITERATURE
OK, that’s hyperbole, but here’s the next best thing to Allais’s reincarnation.
Please take your seats…STANDING ROOM ONLY.
This long awaited collection of rare theatrical texts includes original translations—never before published in English—of ten monologues, three one-act plays, and twelve shorter dialogues, skits and burlesques drawn from Allais’s columns in such publications as Le Chat Noir and L’Hydropathe.
In addition to Doug Skinner’s fascinating notes on the texts, you’ll find an appendix of scarce photographs from the Paris production of “Le Pauvre Bougre et Le Bon Génie.”
Here’s a peek at the Playbill…
This unique collection of absurdist gems is proto-Dada at its most delicious!
Available in a trade paperback edition; 124 pp. Illustrated. $12.95
Move over, Jarry!