READING IN TRANSLATION reviews SURREALIST TEXTS

 Falling somewhere between short stories and prose poems in fluid translation by Ellen Nations, Surrealist Texts is an indispensable introduction to this fascinating writer.

Lucina Schell, READING IN TRANSLATION

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“Nations’s translations admirably resist the urge to clarify or normalize Prassinos’s surrealist prose. Complemented by Bruce Hutchinson’s beautiful watercolors in a limited edition of only 85 copies, Surrealist Texts makes a lovely gift for connoisseurs of surrealism. But the significance of this collection extends beyond its historical value. Like most surrealist literature, the stories are strange and even off-putting on the surface, but plumbing their depths reveals repressed truths, hidden within the subconscious, that are no less painful or true than when they were written.”

Read the complete text of Schell’s glowing review at the link below:

http://readingintranslation.com/2014/02/25/bleak-fairy-tales-gisele-prassinoss-surrealist-texts-translated-by-ellen-nations/

Surrealism Lives!

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We start the New Year off with a stunning collection of texts by Gisèle Prassinos—one of surrealism’s most gifted voices.

Prassinos was discovered at age 14 by André Breton who included her poetry in his seminal Anthologie de l’humour noir (1940). Breton commented: “The tone of Gisèle Prassinos is unique: all the poets are jealous of it.” Indeed, her haunting, childlike style remains unrivaled and her stories timeless. 

photo by Man Ray

Gisèle Prassinos reading her poems to the Surrealists (1934)
Photo © Man Ray Trust / ADAGP, Paris

Exquisitely translated from the French by Ellen Nations, this limited edition includes 20 transformative texts, plus eight original watercolor paintings by the artist Bruce Hutchinson.spread

That half the works in this collection were written when Prassinos was just fourteen and fifteen is evidence of how rare a prodigy she was. The surrealist’s sense of the word marvelous certainly applies to these strange creations.

Here is a taste of the text “Filial Devotion”…

He now found himself in the middle of a large lake where furniture made of mahogany, spruce and rosewood swam.Young girls in their panties gently fought each other by now and again blowing on their flushed arms.The man believed he recognized one of his daughters. But thinking it was only a hallucination, he retreated by swimming up to the adjoining door.There, he found himself in the presence of a very large and hairy stag.The stag’s eyes slowly became bigger and bigger as they gradually feasted on his whole egg-shaped face.

Only 85 copies are available for purchase.

Please click here to order.

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Ellen Nations, translator and photographer, grew up in Norway and has for many years made her home in the San Francisco Bay Area where she lives with her husband Opal Louis Nations. Together they published the experimental literature and art magazine Strange Faeces. In addition to her translations of Gisèle Prassinos, she has  translated works  by Alain Jouffroy, Paul Nougé, Raymond Radiguet, Joyce Mansour and others.

Bruce Hutchinson created the watercolor paintings in Surrealist Texts while in his mid-20s as part of his weekly correspondence with Opal and Ellen Nations. He wrote his letters on small pieces of paper with ink drawings on one side, original watercolors on the other. His artwork has appeared in many small press publications.

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