We’re pleased as punch to bring you the 14th volume in our Alphonse Allais Collection—Let’s Not Hit Each Other, the last of the master absurdist’s anthumous works. It features 58 tales, rife with wordplay and wicked humor. This collection has been skillfully translated by Doug Skinner and includes his introduction and illuminating notes on the text.
What are we to make of Let’s Not Hit Each Other? It includes a flying whale, an inflatable colonel, telepathic snails, a summer crime, the insularization of France, missionary parrots, an amphibious herring, twin cousins, and proposals for billboard dogs, deodorized urine, calming the sea with varnish, and crossing the English Channel with swings. You will also meet Mr. Fish, who travels with capsules of American air, presaging Duchamp’s “Paris Air” by decades.
This is the FIRST ENGLISH TRANSLATION of a remarkable volume. This edition includes an original portrait of the author by Corinne Taunay.
“One does not trifle with the humor of Allais.” —Jean-Pierre Delaune
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.
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.
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]
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.
A special reprint edition of BLACK SCAT REVIEW #1 is now available.
Originally published in 2012, the issue sold out quickly and has long been out of print. It features John Crombie’s translation of “Like Mother” by Alphonse Allais; a hilarious accusatory text by the legendary Canadian absurdist Crad Kilodney; collage art from the UK by Michael Leigh; Elizabeth Archer’s revealing interview with British humorist Samantha Memi; experimental comic art by Florence Bocherel; a rare comic drama by Pierre Henri Cami translated by Doug Skinner; bizarre poems from Portugal’s Pedro Carolino; and astounding short fiction by Samantha Memi, YuriyTarnawsky and Tom Whalen. (EDITOR’S NOTE: The original cover photograph by S. N. Jacobson has been censored to allow its display on Amazon.)
BLACK SCAT REVIEW (Number One) edited by Norman Conquest paperback; illustrated; full color; ISBN 979-8450666396
It’s a rare event when we publish a work of nonfiction, but this book is dear to our hard-hearted heart. This extraordinary work of scholarship exposes the liveliest fin-de-siècle bohemian cabaret and journal in Paris.
Le Chat Noir was a playground for painters, writers, poets, pranksters, and musicians, all gleefully demolishing the standards of art and good taste. Caroline Crépiat examines such eccentric personalities as Paul Verlaine, Alphonse Allais, Marie Krysinska, Maurice Mac-Nab, and Charles Cros, and analyzes their treatment of money, women, translation, humor, sex, disease, and scatology, with generous samplings of the original texts. A masterful look at a rich and colorful legend of the avant-garde!
Le Chat Noir Exposed Caroline Crépiat Translated by Doug Skinner trade paper, 182 pp., Illustrated; $15.95 ISBN: 978-1-7356159-6-7
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caroline Crépiat‘s main area of research focuses on French fin-de-siècle periodicals, humor, and language. Her articles have been published widely in France. She co-edited Masks, bodies, languages — Figures in contemporary erotic poetry (Classiques Garnier Editions: 2017). She lives in Dijon with two chats noirs.