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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STAND AND SALUTE!

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 JaffeAlfred Jarry, Richard Kostelanetz, Terri Lloyd, Frank PulaskiJason E. Rolfe, Paul RosheimMercie 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!  

As always, it’s free to read online or download to your device, so stand and salute! Then  CLICK HERE.

It’s here!



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
Alphonse Allais
Translated from the French by Doug Skinner
Includes an  introduction and complete notes on the text
$12.95 / trade paperback, 218 pp.,
BUY NOW

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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

The Science of Sciences!

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“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
by Anonymous
5.25″ x 8.25″ – perfect-bound paper, 64 pp., illustrated in black & white and full color
$15
‘PATAPHYSICS / SCIENCE

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

Three Plays by D. Harlan Wilson

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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.

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The official publication date is March 15th, but ADVANCE COPIES ARE AVAILABLE NOW on Amazon. CLICK HERE to order.

THREE PLAYS BY D. HARLAN WILSON
Trade paperback; 160 pages; $12.95
ISBN-13: 978-0692631539

Cover photograph by Lodiza LePore / DESIGN BY NORMAN CONQUEST

Alphonse Today! —Hip! Hip! Allais!

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drawing by Doug Skinner

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.

SQUAD

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

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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