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

 

This Side Upside-Down!

“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!

CLICK HERE to order UPSIDE-DOWN STORIES — the 35th title in our seminal Absurdist Texts & Documents series.

 

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.

 

.

THE CROS FLIES!

CHARLES CROS: COLLECTED MONOLOGUES

It’s back to cool with the great French monologist,  humorist, poet, and inventor—in a trenchant translation by Doug Skinner.

***FIRST PUBLICATION IN ENGLISH!***

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.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The sheer playfulness of certain fanciful parts of Cros’s work must not let us forget that in the center of some of his finest poems, a revolver is aimed at us.”—André Breton

Are we bilious? Don’t be sillious!

No bile here. Make that, NO BILE!  is here!—Alphonse Allais‘s sublime collection of absurdist texts in a new translationfirst publication in English!by the great Doug Skinner.

Alphonse Allais’s third collection finds him in full anti-bilious form: love stories, revenge stories, monologues, short-shorts, and animal stories—all affronting the reader with startlingly modern absurdity, black humor, and wordplay.

“No Oulipian could fail to be enchanted by his essentially ironic tales, in which he juggles the rhetorical and narrative components of writing with rigorous logic and inexhaustibly zany results.”Harry Mathews

Among the highlights are “Absinthes,” an internal monologue about the Green Fairy; “Poor Césarine,” a tale of obsessive love; and “A Good Society,” which proposes collecting used matches for the poor. As a bonus, six uncollected stories are included. PLUS illustrations and informative notes on the text by Doug Skinner.

So don’t be bilious, grab your copy now on Amazon. Start your summer off with blasts of laughter!

drawing by Doug Skinner

Discover all the titles in Black Scat’s ALPHONSE ALLAIS COLLECTION

CLICK TO ORDER

 

 

 

 

 

“Why, That’s Patently Absurd!”

Yes, indeed—Pas de Bile!—another  patently absurd volume in Black Scat’s seminal Alphonse Allais Collection.

This will be the book’s first publication in English, with a sublime and inspired translation by the great Doug Skinner. In addition to the complete text of the original Flammarion edition, published in France in 1893, it will include  several uncollected stories by Allais. There will also be Skinner’s  copious notes on each text, and an informative and entertaining introduction. Throw in this eye-catching cover by Norman Conquest and you’ve got an edition worthy of display in your home or office.

Publication: Late Summer, 2018

And while you’re waiting, be sure to read Alphonse Allais’s LONG LIVE LIFE!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ALPHONSE ALLAIS (1854 – 1905) began his career in Paris during the Belle Epoque. He was particularly active at the legendary cabaret Le Chat Noir, where he wrote for and edited the weekly paper. He quickly became known for his deadpan wit and inexhaustible imagination. Among other things, he also exhibited some of the first monochromatic pictures (such as his all-white “First Communion of Chlorotic Girls in the Snow” in 1883) and composed the first silent piece of music: “Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man” (1884). Throughout most of his life, he contributed columns several times a week to Le Journal and Le Sourire. These pieces were collected into twelve volumes, which he called his “Anthumous Works,” between 1892 and 1902. He also published a collection of his monochromes, Album Primo-Avrilesque, in 1897, and a novel, L’affaire Blaireau, in 1899, as well as a few plays. His later years were troubled by debt, a bad marriage, and heavy drinking; he died at 59. He was a crucial influence on Alfred Jarry, as well as on the Surrealists: Breton included him in his Anthology of Black Humor, and Duchamp was reading him on the day he died. Allais’s fascination with wordplay, puns, and holorhymes led Oulipo to call him an “anticipatory plagiarist”; the Pataphysical College dubbed him their “Patacessor.” His books have remained in print in France, and the Académie Alphonse Allais has awarded a literary prize in his honor since 1954.