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
“A badass work of concentrated hallucination.”—Nile Southern
Discover the perils of science in this bizarre classic of “imaginary solutions.” Profusely illustrated in color and b/w. This is a reprint of the rare limited edition published by Black Scat in 2013.
ADVENTURES IN ‘PATAPHYSICS
5.25″ x 8.25″ – perfect-bound paper, 64 pp., illustrated in black & white and full color
‘PATAPHYSICS / SCIENCE
From our New Urge imprint comes the latest release in the Classics of Passion series:
THE NEW PLEASURE & other stories by Pierre Louÿs
This collection of seven titillating tales by the author of Aphrodite and The Songs of Bilitis, presents a sensual style with sublime erotic undertones. It includes the novella “Woman and Puppet” – a startling tale of obsessive love – which became the basis for Luis Buñuel’s film “That Obscure Object of Desire.”
“One night at the flat I sat in silent contemplation of two blue china cats that crouched upon a white table. I was wondering whether it would be better to pass the time smoking cigarettes or writing sonnets. Another idea was that it might be better to smoke the cigarettes and stare at the painting on the ceiling. Cigarette, sonnet, or stare? The most important thing at such an hour is to have a cigarette ready to hand and lip. It enshrouds all the most material things with scarves of cloud, fine and celestial. It adds something both to the lights and to the dark of the chamber, taking away the hard mathematics of the angles, and by means of a scented magical spell brings to the agitated human spirit a panacea and peace. It brings, too, the land of dreams.”
Pierre Louÿs (1870 – 1925) was a French poet and writer renowned for lesbian and classical themes, as well as for explicit erotic works published posthumously. He was a gifted stylist whose pagan texts have a distinctly hypnotic power. In 1896, his first novel Aphrodite became
the most popular and best selling book of its day.
New Urge editions are designed for contemporary readers and collectors.
THE NEW PLEASURE & OTHER STORIES
by Pierre Louÿs
Translated from the French and Adapted by G. F. Monkshood**
Classics of Passion series
5.06″ x 7.81″ (12.852 x 19.837 cm)
224 pages, trade paper original
**pseudonym of William James Clarke
Adapted to film four times, “L’Affaire Blaireau” has remained popular and in print in France since its original appearance in 1899. This is its first publication in English. It is humorist Alphonse Allais’s only novel and, in the words of translator Doug Skinner: “It isn’t quite as wild or cruel as his early stories, but I find it delicious anyway. Summer in the provinces, the shrewd but impressionable Blaireau, futile political squabbles, a ridiculous but charming love story, what more could one want? And innocence is rewarded!”
Here’s a taste from Chapter I:
THE BLAIREAU AFFAIR is a rare find to be savored by the author’s growing circle of fans in America.
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).
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.