drawing by Doug Skinner
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.
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 This unexpurgated edition is illustrated with ubu-dystopian charts, unpublished diagrams, newly discovered schemata, and rare illuminated photographs.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.
Doug Skinner‘s delightfully absurd musical instruments appeared each month in the pages of our journal, Le Scat Noir. The artist has now rounded up all these drawings (along with previously unpublished specimens) for his new collection Instrumentarium: A Book of Curious Musical Instruments. Even if you’re tone deaf, this book will have you humming along, snapping your fingers, tapping your feet and laughing out loud.
Jam-packed with 180 drawings in blaring black and white, this trade paperback edition is available worldwide on Amazon for only $12.95.
“Charles Cros was a being miraculously gifted in every way, a strangely personal and charming poet, a true scientist, a disconcerting fantasist.” —Alphonse Allais
Charles Cros and Émile Goudeau were quintessential Bohemian poets of the 1880s. Cros also experimented with the phonograph and color photography; Goudeau founded the Hydropathes, who met to declaim poetry while not drinking water. Cros and Goudeau’s only collaboration was a series of five exuberant stories published in 1880, which satirized such hot topics as divorce and capital punishment with bawdy humor and wild flights of fancy. All five stories are included here, plus four solo stories by Cros that complete the series, translated and annotated by Doug Skinner.
“Émile Goudeau was a fine man, and he had a lot of talent, an original talent as flavorsome as wine.” —Maurice Donnay
“Amiable smuttiness.” —Émile Zola
These dense and nutty gems will surprise you!
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.
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
Available Worldwide on Amazon
FIRST PUBLICATION IN ENGLISH!
A zombie rises from the grave of French literature to stalk the earth once more! This bizarre novel – written in 1697 – marks the first mention of the word “zombie” in world literature. It is a wicked tale of lascivious lust and lunatic desires, a strange concoction of prose and verse, set in the sexual and racial hothouse of colonial Guadeloupe. Our narrator has his eye on the beautiful Creole Countess, who goes barefoot and serves her guests tadpoles. When she offers him sex in exchange for magical powers, he tricks her into thinking she’s an invisible zombie; slapstick, humiliation, and confusion follow. Includes a preface by the avant-garde magus: Guillaume Apollinaire.
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It’s back to cool with the great French monologist, humorist, poet, and inventor—in a trenchant translation by Doug Skinner.
Born in1842, Charles Cros was one of the most brilliant minds of his generation, equally adept at poetry, fiction, and scientific inquiry. He wrote smutty verses with Verlaine, synthesized gems with Alphonse Allais, contributed wild prose fantasies to Le Chat Noir, and experimented with color photography and sound recording, only to die young, poor, and alcoholic. Not incidentally, he also invented the comic monologue for the actor Coquelin Cadet. In these strikingly spontaneous and modern sketches, he introduces a gallery of fools and obsessives—The Clean Man, The Fencing Master, The Capitalist, The Friend of the Family—all nattering away, assaulting the audience with trivia, and blithely unaware of their own failings.
This edition collects all 22 of Cros’s monologues—masterfully translated & introduced by Doug Skinner—and includes performance notes by Coquelin, plus two biographical essays by his friend and colleague Alphonse Allais.