HONK THOSE HORNS! … BRING ON THE NOISES!

The Fourth of July is a noisy holiday, and this year it’s going to be even noisier, as it’s Black Scat’s 10th anniversary. Thus, it’s fitting that we’ve launched Luigi Russolo‘s Italian Futurist classic, THE ART OF NOISES, in a new translation by Doug Skinner. The book includes a seminal introduction by Skinner, as well as his copious notes on the translation. Originally released in Milan by Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia in 1916, this text was a sonic boom that awakened 20th-century avant-garde musical aesthetics and inspired generations of experimental composers.

In the words of Daniel Matei, it was THE ART OF NOISES that “elevated Russolo to the level of Marinetti and Boccioni.”

Artist Norman Conquest has designed our edition and crafted a near facsimile of the original Italian volume, while adding a few obstreperous flourishes of his own. We hope you’ll celebrate Scat’s ten years by ordering a copy of this gem — #44 in our legendary Absurdist Texts & Documents series.

Have a BLAST this summer and make some noise!

THE ART OF NOISES
Luigi Russolo
Translated from the Italian by Doug Skinner
Absurdist Texts & Documents No. 44
A Zang Tumb Tumb Edition
Paperback, illustrated; 134 pp., $15
ISBN: 979-8-9859996-2-4

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Luigi Russolo (1885-1947) was born into a musical family in Portogruaro, Italy. As a child, he studied violin and piano, but decided to switch to painting. When F. T. Marinetti launched Futurism in 1909, Russolo soon became one of its principal members. In 1913, he wrote a manifesto, “L’Arte dei rumori” (“The Art of Noises”), proclaiming a new music based on noises; he spent the next few years building instruments, giving concerts, and expanding his manifesto into a book. A war injury in 1917 slowed him down, but he continued painting and giving concerts throughout the ‘20s, as well as building several “noise harmoniums.” In the ‘30s he became interested in the occult, and wrote a long philosophical dialogue called Al di là della materia (Beyond Matter), arguing for a society based on spirituality. He died in 1947. Although his scores and instruments were lost in World War II, his ideas continue to fascinate and influence many musicians. 

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Doug Skinner  has translated many books from the French and Italian, including works by Alphonse Allais, Pierre-Corneille Blessebois, Caroline Crépiat, Charles Cros, Alfred Jarry, and Giovanni Battista Nazari. Black Scat has published several books of his fiction (Sleepytime Cemetery, The Snowman Three Doors Down), cartoons (The Unknown Adjective, Shorten the Classics), and music (The Doug Skinner Songbook). He has contributed to The Fortean Times, Strange Attractor Journal, Cabinet, Fate, Weirdo, Nickelodeon, Black Scat Review, and other fine periodicals. His musical activities include scores for dance (ODC-San Francisco, Margaret Jenkins), as well as several shows by actor/clown Bill Irwin, including The Regard of Flight, The Courtroom, and The Harlequin Studies; his albums That Regrettable Weekend and It All Went Pfft are available on Bandcamp. 

viva l'italia!

Shocking and Scandalous!

THIS POST WAS UPDATED 4.30.22

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.

CLICK HERE and see for yourself.

Watch Out! — Here Comes Jean-Fucque!

A Born-Again Surrealist Classic

Inspired by Louis Aragon’s obscure surrealist text, this new adaptation by R J Dent proudly presents… [insert drumroll] the one and only, Jean-Fucque Le Cocque, a large, disembodied penis and his Parisian adventures — his satisfactory encounters with female passengers on the Metro, his small room in a hotel frequented by prostitutes, and his reason for buying a hat. (Mon dieu!)

Merci beaucoup!

Time for Your Dose of Existential Humor

When Daniil Ivanovich Yuvachev steps in front of a trolleybus and is killed, he immediately regrets not looking both ways before crossing the street. It’s one of many deaths Daniil faces in these eighteen absurdist tales. From a mind that wanders too far at lunch, and a madcap chase through St. Petersburg, to a clock that stops time whenever it’s observed, these stories trace not only the lives and deaths of the hero, but the author’s impossible nostalgia for a time, a city and a writer he never knew. Filled with existential humor, this masterful collection explores the thinly-veiled boundary between sense and nonsense. 

“The Many Lives and Countless Deaths of Daniil Ivanovich is an absurdist gem in which Jason E. Rolfe channels the best essences of Gogol and Dosto evsky while authenticating his own unique voice. Uncanny, whimsical, and smart, these interstitial stories and vignettes reminded me that literature isn’t dead yet after all.” —D. Harlan Wilson, author of Outré and The Psychotic Dr. Schreber

“Whether you find this funny or frustrating, I would recommend a few sips of this book from day to day. Taken all at once, it can induce mental chaos, but taken one story at a time, it can promise wide smiles. Jason E. Rolfe might be the most specialized of specialist writers, but he deserves a wide, non-specialized readership.” —Mark Fuller Dillon, author of Ice and Autumn Glass


THE MANY LIVES AND COUNTLESS DEATHS OF DANIIL IVANOVICH
by Jason E. Rolfe
with a Postscript by Paul Rosheim
Trade paperback, 112 pp., $14
ISBN 978-1-7373711-2-0

Available on Amazon in North America, Europe, and Australia


Jason Rolfe writes fiction that is both darkly comic and comically absurd, often using humour to shed light on things he finds philosophically absurd. His publications include the novellas, The Puppet-Play of Doctor Gall (Black Scat Books, 2020) and An Archive of Human Nonsense (Snuggly Books, 2017), and the short story collection, Clocks (Black Scat Books, 2018). His short stories have recently appeared in the anthologies The Neo-Decadent Cookbook (Eibonvale Press, 2020), Bitter Distillations (Egaeus Press, 2021) and Uncertainties V (Swan River Press, 2021). Jason is a frequent contributor to Black Scat Review.

Also available from Black Scat Books:

AVANT-GUARDIAN!

“Some naive lovers of semantics believe that if only our rulers, our saviours (of all sorts), could understand the meaning of their own pronouncements, they would amend their ways. What an illusion! They, the saviours, know the mechanism of Language much better than all the Semanticists, Linguistic philosophers, and Logical formalists put together. That’s how they know how to use it to play upon the prejudices of the mob: you and me.”

—Stefan Thermerson (from his essay “The Aim of Aims”)

Stefan Themerson (1910-1988) defied simple categories; he was a legendary European writer, publisher, philosopher, and filmmaker. Together with his wife, Franciszka, they founded Gaberbocchus Press, the gold standard for avant-garde literary presses. This collection, edited by Paul Rosheim,  gathers previously hard-to-find texts dealing with many of his principal concerns: ethics, semantics, conformity, misguided prejudice, and intuitive human decency. Also included are drawings by Franciszka, and an insightful introduction by art historian Nick Wadley.

PRAISE FOR STEFAN THEMERSON

“This writer is in the company of Carroll and Queneau, a master of controlled inconsequence…”  —Guardian

“What an extraordinary writer Stefan Themerson is.” —Punch

“Stefan Themerson has an absolutely elegant sense of humor.” —New York Times

CLICK HERE TO ORDER  

 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE INTRODUCTION BY NICK WADLEY

Toons of Gay Paree!

Looking for laughter? Your prayers have been answered.

LE CHAT NOIR was one of the liveliest avant-garde papers in 19th century Paris. Published by the legendary cabaret, it delivered a weekly blast of anarchism, pranks, Decadent poetry, and black humor by such luminaries as Alphonse Allais, Charles Cros, and Paul Verlaine. It was also famous for its cartoons. Here are 101 of them: the poetic fantasies of Adolphe Willette, the slapstick animals of Théophile Steinlen, the military sketches of Caran d’Ache, the bawdy gags of Döes and Fernand Fau, and much more. With an introduction, translations, and notes by Doug Skinner.

101 CARTOONS FROM LE CHAT NOIR
Early Comics from Bohemian Paris
Compiled & Translated by Doug Skinner
124 pp., large trade  paper edition; $14.95 

CLICK HERE TO ORDER ON AMAZON

“The Impressionable Model” by Henricus.

from 101 CARTOONS FROM LE CHAT NOIR

Available Worldwide on Amazon

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

The #2 Bestseller!

merde-cover-lrg


Praise for MERDE À LA BELLE ÉPOQUE

“BLACK SCAT BOOKS has launched from the pits of lit this shameful little anthology, wonderfully translated and prefaced with futile brilliance by Doug Skinner. I was immediately disgusted and attracted by these turn-of-the-century French luminaries indulging in dirty little boy lyrics and lunatic stories, many of them in the scatological society that hung out at Le Chat Noir…” Alain Arias-Misson, author of Theatre of Incest

“Incroyable!… Alfred (a fart man from way back) Jarry would surely relish this collection–one which combines force-feeding with delicate odoriferous leakage—something for every taste!”  Nile Southern, author of The Candy Men: The Rollicking Life and Times of the Notorious Novel Candy

“These dirty little secrets are canonical secretions of literary genius. Fin de siecle Parisian scatology at its best.”  D. Harlan Wilson, author of Hitler: The Terminal BiographyFreud: The Penultimate Biography, and Douglass: The Lost Autobiography

___

This hilarious scatological anthology features stories, a song, poems, a play, a rebus, and naughty jokes by period luminaries. Contributors include Alphonse Allais, George Auriol, Georges Courteline, Edmond Haraucourt, Vincent Hyspa, Maurice Mac-Nab, and Erik Satie.

The collection has been tastefully compiled and effervescently translated from the French by Doug Skinner.

This limited edition includes notes on the translations and a brief biography of each contributor.

#2 on our Bestseller List— don’t settle for #1!

Merde à La Belle Époque
Absurdist Texts & Documents – No. 24
Perfect-bound chapbook, 48 pp.
Limited to 310 copies. – $12.50

*A discreet digital edition is also available ($7.50)

CLICK HERE to order.

Happy Birthday, Rabelais!