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.
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.
“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
No bile here. Make that, NO BILE! is here!—Alphonse Allais‘s sublime collection of absurdist texts in a new translation—first 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!
Discover all the titles in Black Scat’s ALPHONSE ALLAIS COLLECTION
Black Scat author and translator Doug Skinner recently informed us about a book of poems he’s reading by Raoul Ponchon. One poem in particular struck his fancy as it’s about the conservative French drama critic Francisque Sarcey (1827-1899). The poem — “Our Uncle’s Aunt” — mocks Sarcey, saying his reviews were influenced by his elderly aunt. Lucien Boucher‘s illustration .is reproduced here.
This is one of the funniest books we’ve ever published — and that’s saying a lot. If you’re looking for a hilarious example of black humor, don’t miss it.
Who was the hippest cat to ever hang his hat at Le Chat Noir in Paris? Alfred Jarry? Erik Satie? Apollinaire? No! Alphonse Allais, of course — the fellow who experimented with holorhymes, invented conceptual art, and created the earliest known example of a silent musical composition: Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man (1884). Furthermore, you don’t need a Time Machine to travel back to 1893 to read Allais’s oddly titled collection Le parapluie de l’escouade. In fact — thanks to Doug Skinner’s inspired translation — you don’t even have to read French to enjoy all 39 wickedly funny texts in The Squadron’s Umbrella because Black Scat Books has launched its first publication in English. Yes, it’s another coup for this little house, and a landmark for lovers of French literature and Pataphysical humor.
ALPHONSE ALLAIS (1854 – 1905) was France’s greatest humorist. His elegance, scientific curiosity, preoccupation with language and logic, wordplay and flashes of cruelty inspired Alfred Jarry, as well as succeeding generations of Surrealists, Pataphysicians, and Oulipians. The Squadron’s Umbrella collects 39 of Allais’s funniest stories — many originally published in the legendary paper Le Chat Noir, written for the Bohemians of Montmartre. Included are such classic pranks on the reader as “The Templars” (in which the plot becomes secondary to remembering the hero’s name) and “Like the Others” (in which a lover’s attempts to emulate his rivals lead to fatal but inevitable results). These tales have amused and inspired generations, and now English readers can enjoy the master absurdist at his best. As the author promises, this book contains no umbrella and the subject of squadrons is “not even broached.”
THE SQUADRON’S UMBRELLA
by Alphonse Allais
Translated with an introduction, notes and illustrations by Doug Skinner
6” x 9”, trade paperback. 160 pp., Illustrated.
$12.95 / ISBN -13 978-0692392126
FICTION / FRENCH LITERATURE / HUMOR
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM BLACK SCAT BOOKS:
Captain Cap: His Adventures, His Ideas, His Drinks by Alphonse Allais
Translated by Doug Skinner
Selected Plays of Alphonse Allais
Compiled and translated by Doug Skinner
OK, that’s hyperbole, but here’s the next best thing to Allais’s reincarnation.
Please take your seats…STANDING ROOM ONLY.
This long awaited collection of rare theatrical texts includes original translations—never before published in English—of ten monologues, three one-act plays, and twelve shorter dialogues, skits and burlesques drawn from Allais’s columns in such publications as Le Chat Noir and L’Hydropathe.
In addition to Doug Skinner’s fascinating notes on the texts, you’ll find an appendix of scarce photographs from the Paris production of “Le Pauvre Bougre et Le Bon Génie.”
Here’s a peek at the Playbill…
This unique collection of absurdist gems is proto-Dada at its most delicious!
Available in a trade paperback edition; 124 pp. Illustrated. $12.95
Move over, Jarry!
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 Biography, Freud: The Penultimate Biography, and Douglass: The Lost Autobiography
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)
CLICK HERE to order.
Happy Birthday, Rabelais!
Doug Skinner read from (and signed copies of) his sparkling translation of Alphonse Allais’s Captain Cap: His Adventures, His Ideas, His Drinks at the Jalopy Theater in Brooklyn tonight. By all accounts it was a delightful performance and Alphonse would have been proud—not to mention inebriated, as Captain Cap cocktails were on the house.
If you missed the performance, don’t miss the book which is available on Amazon here.
<< Photographs by Farewell Debut. >>
We’ve jumped the gun and released our mammoth deluxe trade paperback edition of Alphonse Allais’s CAPTAIN CAP: HIS ADVENTURES, HIS IDEAS, HIS DRINKS—translated by Doug Skinner. This is the complete & unabridged edition of the original 1902 French classic. 370 pages, including eight uncollected “Captain Cap” stories, plus a “Cappendix” of rare historical pictures.
The book is profusely illustrated with witty drawings by Doug Skinner, in addition to his extensive notes on the translation and swashbuckling introduction.
If you missed any of the limited edition capsized Captain Cap chapbooks in our Absurdist Texts & Documents series, you can get the whole kit and caboodle now, plus oodles more.
ALPHONSE ALLAIS (1854-1905) was a peerless French humorist, celebrated posthumously by the Surrealists for his elegant style and disturbing imagination. In addition to composing absurdist texts for newspapers such as Le Chat Noir and Le Journal, he experimented with holorhymes, invented conceptual art, and created the earliest known example of a silent musical composition: Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man (1884). Truly ahead of his time (as well as ours), Allais is needed now more than ever. His mischievous work remains fresh, funny, and always surprising.
DOUG SKINNER has written numerous scores for theater and dance, particularly for actor/clown Bill Irwin (The Regard of Flight). His articles, cartoons, and translations have appeared in The Fortean Times, Fate, The Anomalist, Nickelodeon, Weirdo, Black Scat Review, and other periodicals. His translation of Isidore Isou’s Considerations on the Death and Burial of Tristan Tzara was published by Black Scat Books.
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