The June Gloom issue of LE SCAT NOIR is now available for download. We won’t bother mentioning that it’s free because you already know that. #224 features an international roster of artists and writers, including Alphonse Allais, Adrienne Auvray, Mark Axelrod, Paulo Brito, Norman Conquest, Farewell Debut, Félix Fénéon, Pippa Anais Gaubert, Eckhard Gerdes, Thomas Gresham, Adao Iturrusgarai, Jim Johnson, Rick Krieger, Terri Lloyd, Jim McMenamin, Andy O’Clancy, Frank Pulaski, Jason E. Rolfe, Paul Rosheim, Marina Rubin, Doug Skinner, and Rebecka Skog.
“Every time I write about Doug Skinner’s translations of Alphonse Allais – the new one is I Am Sarcey – I say that Allais’s humor columns and so on ought to be period pieces, historical ephemera, but are better than that, are good. Still funny; still fun. This is my only idea about Allais, apparently. If anything this is even more the case with I Am Sarcey – more ephemeral yet not, but even more so.’
CLICK HERE to read the complete review.
And then CLICK HERE and enjoy the book for yourself.
The book Black Scat was born to publish!
Francisque Sarcey was the most influential drama critic in 1890s Paris — and the most conservative. He famously dismissed Alfred Jarry‘s Ubu Roi as “a filthy fraud that deserves nothing but the silence of contempt.” The brilliant humorist Alphonse Allais transformed Sarcey into an Ubuesque piñata in a series of columns published under Sarcey’s name in the newspaper Le Chat Noir.
The pseudo-Sarcey became a prattling idiot, bragging about his appetite and complaining about his impotence, a memorable comic character who often eclipsed the original. This sustained journalistic prank — compiled and translated by Doug Skinner — is destined to become a classic of black humor.
Add this gem to your collection and celebrate April Fools all year long.
I AM SARCEY
Translated from the French by Doug Skinner
Includes an introduction and complete notes on the text
$12.95 / trade paperback, 218 pp.,
CLICK HERE to view all the titles in our Alphonse Allais Collection.
And here’s a GIFT, the April Fools Issue of LE SCAT NOIR.
PREVIEW AND DOWNLOAD HERE
Looking ahead (no pun intended) to April, it’s going to be a Scatastic month. Back in 2013, we issued a little limited edition chapbook titled HOW I BECAME AN IDIOT by Francisque Sarcey. It was actually written by the brilliant French humorist Alphonse Allais, who signed Sarcey’s name to a series of columns that appeared in the bohemian journal Le Chat Noir. Sarcey, a well-known drama critic, became the butt of jokes among the literati for his stodgy, conservative views (e.g., he blasted Alfred Jarry‘s absurdist classic UBU ROI).
Our limited edition sold out quickly, but it was just a sampler. Now Doug Skinner has compiled and translated all the columns in a delicious 200+ paged trade paperback edition: I AM SARCEY.
These texts reveal Allais at his wicked best and the book is a must-have for fans of hilarious black humor. This volume marks the seventh title in our Alphonse Allais Collection, and our resident Allais scholar, Doug Skinner, provides a sublime introduction and notes on each text.
Only an idiot would pass up I AM SARCEY when it rolls off the press on April 1st.
Also on tap is a special (redesigned) April Fools Issue of LE SCAT NOIR. You can download a copy on our web site (BlackScatBooks.net) on April 1st for FREE.
Mark your calendars.
Black Scat Books is proud to serve up the master absurdist’s inaugural collection, containing his hand-picked favorites from the pages of Le Chat Noir, the bohemian journal that amused and scandalized Paris. Here you’ll find Allais in the first flush of his comic genius, spinning out elegant and hilarious gems of black humor on suicide, murder, obsession, and adultery. You will meet the philosophical cuckold, the young lady in love with a pig, the inventor of the Tumultoscope, and Ferdinand, the most resourceful duck in literature. Among the highlights is Allais’s most famous story, “A Thoroughly Parisian Drama,” a favorite of André Breton and Umberto Eco. This is the book’s first publication in English, and features seven additional stories from Le Chat Noir, as well as a sublime introduction, notes on the text, and drawings by Doug Skinner.
Belly laughs guaranteed.
♦ We will soon be accepting submissions for our online cabaret, le scat noir.
♦ watch for a new book by doug rice on september 15th. here lies memory is truly an unforgettable novel.
♦ alPHONSE allais’s first book (published in france in 1891) was titled A se tordre. this collection of 45 pieces, drawn largely from his contributions to the avant-garde paper Le Chat Noir, put the author on the absurdist map. presently, our own doug skinner is putting the finishing touches on his translation — double over — which will feature the full volume plus additional texts not included in the original. to make this black scat edition even more special, there are drawings, detailed notes on the texts, and an introduction by skinner. needless to say, we are thrilled to be publishing this first english translation — a most fitting addition to black scat’s series of books by the master humorist.
♦ also on the way … “the obsession issue” of black scat review. this is the magazine’s 16th issue and features eye-opening works by william gibson, Violet Capers, tony duvert, samantha memi, paulo brito, and many others.
♦ finally, don’t miss #32 in our absurdist texts & documents series: TRUE CRIME: The People vs. Rrose Sélavy. this dada chapbook is destined to be a collector’s item.
Happy labor day!
Balzac’s WAITING FOR GODEAU was just named #1 on Amazon’s New Releases in French Dramas & Plays. Congratulations to translator Mark Axelrod.
CLICK HERE to order a copy
“It is upon this one comedy that Balzac can lay any claims as a dramatic artist.”
—The New York Times
If you missed the limited edition published in 2013, the wait is over. Mark Axelrod’s translation of this obscure comedy by Balzac is now available worldwide on Amazon in a handsome paperback edition.
Originally presented under the title Mercadet or The Good Businessman, this play in three acts appears to have inspired the creation of the unseen character in Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Indeed, 102 years before Godot ‘s debut, Mercadet opened at the Theatre du Gymnase-Dramatique in Paris and—curiously enough—featured a character named “Godeau” who never appears on stage.
A comic coincidence? One of life’s little absurdities?
The translator met and corresponded with Beckett, and in WAITING FOR GODEAU we present an unpublished letter from Beckett in which the burning question is answered.
Or is it?
You be the judge.
WAITING FOR GODEAU
by Honore de Balzac
Translated from the French by Mark Axelrod
5.06″ x 7.81″ (12.852 x 19.837 cm)
trade paperback; 154 pages