TURDS IN PROGRESS

I have been working my arse off (pardon the expression) designing an expanded edition of Merde à La Belle Époque, translated by the venerable Doug Skinner, and featuring scatological works by Alphonse Allais, George Auriol, Georges Courteline, Charles Cros, J. Eschbach, Edmond Haraucourt, Vincent Hyspa, Jules Jouy, Maurice Mac-Nab, Armand Masson, Erik Satie, and other French luminaries yet to be named. 

Black Scat’s original edition was published in 2014 as volume 24 in the Absurdist Texts & Documents series — a little 48-paged (spineless) chapbook, limited to only 310 copies. 

At the time, we hailed it as our “#2 Bestseller,” assuming it would remain the last turd on the subject. But nonot by a long shot! Indeed, more gems lay hidden below the surface, just waiting to be fished out of the tank by the skilled hands of Monsieur Skinner.

One of many of our new edition’s highlights is Le Journal des Merdeux (The Little Shits’ Journal)—text by Jules Jouy & cartoons by J. Eschbach. This sublime, single-sided broadside surfaced in 1882 and was immediately banned by the French censors. Alas, one can only imagine what precious merde might have been excreted had subsequent issues appeared. 😢

This very rare Merdeux has never been translated, so it is fitting Black Scat should be the one to uncork it. (Here, take a sniff.) The translation itself involves arduous work—especially when bringing French puns to life with equivalent wordplay in English. One example from the Journal: there’s a joke about pilgrims going to Lourdes, because it’s good luck to step in “la grotte” (a pun for “la crotte”). Skinner made it good luck to step in dogma, keeping both the scatological superstition and the anti-clericalism. A rather brilliant twist.  

Meanwhile, capturing the essence—if not the aroma—of the broadside’s design was a Herculean task. It required many days & nights of painstaking efforts in the WC, matching typography, kerning, cursing (“merde!”), and cleaning up all 28 illustrations which, as you can see from the reproduction below, were stained & degraded by the ravages of time. 

In fact, one of J. Eschbach’s pictures was so delightful I decided to reproduce it on the cover of the forthcoming edition. 

In the book, the single-sheet Little Shits’ Journal runs 9-pages with two columns each. Of course we’d have to hire an extraterrestrial sorcerer to fit the broadside’s 6-columns onto a page only 5.06 inches wide.

The bottom line: working on MERDE is a dirty job, but we were born to doo-doo it.

We hope you’ll consider adding the expanded edition to your collection when it, uh, comes out.

Norman Conquest

ALLAIS’S CABARET — HOORAY!

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.

LSN “SPECIAL INFECTION ISSUE” NOW AVAILABLE!

cover-216

Due to the raging Ubu Trump shitstorm, we have rushed publication of the “SPECIAL INFECTION ISSUE” of Le Scat Noir.

Number 216 features a cast of luminaries: Alphonse Allais, Samuele Bastianello, Paulo Brito, Colin Dodds, Allen Forrest, Eckhard Gerdes, Derek Pell, Alice Pulaski, Frank Pulaski, Jason E. Rolfe, Erik Satie, and Doug Skinner.

Includes the complete, uncensored transcript of Norman Conquest‘s “Ubu Raw: As You Like It.”

The journal is free for all.

CLICK HERE to download.

The #2 Bestseller!

THIS TITLE IS OUT OF PRINT

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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

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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)

Happy Birthday, Rabelais!

In the wings, some special things (fourth edition)…

2014
 Listen closely and you shall hear…  the melodious sounds of a Scat-filled New Year.

  • Surrealist Texts by Gisèle Prassinos
    Transformative texts by one of Surrealism’s most gifted voices. Translated from the French by Ellen Nations. Includes eight original watercolor paintings by Bruce Hutchinson.
  • The Unknown Adjective & Other Stories by Doug Skinner
    A collection of cryptic comics and picture stories.
  • The Straw That Broke by Tom Whalen
    A  “baffling and wonderfully funny” novel, featuring the legendary 
    Encyclopedia Mouse.
  • Selected Plays of Alphonse Allais
    Rare theatrical works by the great French humorist, compiled and translated by Doug Skinner.
  • Merde à La Belle Époque
    Scatological texts by period luminaries, including Alphonse Allais, George Auriol, Georges Courteline, Edmond Haraucourt, Vincent Hyspa, Maurice MacNab, & Erik Satie. Compiled and translated by Doug Skinner. “Sparkling sewage!”
  • The Sugar Numbers by Judson Hamilton
    A kaleidoscopic novella in which two servants—Morel and Valentine—attempt to usurp their respective masters.
  • Selected Poems of Edward D. Wood, Jr.
    Lost poems by the enigmatic creator of Plan 9 from Outer Space.
  • Crocodile Smiles by Yuriy Tarnawsy
    Stories by the author of The Placebo Effect Trilogy.
  • Desiring Specimens by Norman Conquest.
    A collection of imaginary book titles hidden in typography specimen sheets.

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drawing at top of post  by Léonce Burret