THE IDIOT GETS A RAVE

“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.’

Wuthering Expectations

CLICK HERE to read the complete review.

And then CLICK HERE and enjoy the book for yourself.

Think Spring!

idiotLooking 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.

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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.

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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.

No joke!

Mark your calendars.

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OBSESSION

16-cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLACK SCAT REVIEW #16: The Obsession Issue. Featuring works by Alphonse Allais, Adrienne Auvray, Paulo Brito, Violet Capers, S.C. Delaney, Tony Duvert, Farewell Debut, William L. Gibson, Rachel Greenberg, Arya F. Jenkins, Samantha Memi, Agnès Potier, Mercie Pedro e Silva, Doug Skinner, and Greg Autry Wallace.  [cover photograph by Farewell Debut]

CLICK HERE to buy.

PUB-NOTES

♦ 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!

Monsieur Godeau, party of one, your table is waiting…

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“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
ISBN-13: 978-0692738108
$12.95

CLICK HERE TO ORDER ON AMAZON

Alphonse Allais’s Absurd “Affair”!

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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:

excerpt

THE BLAIREAU AFFAIR is a rare find to be savored by the author’s growing circle of fans in America.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER A COPY ON AMAZON

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.

Surprise!

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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. Celebrate the master’s birthday with mirth, mischief, and cocktails!

And one of his sublime books translated by Doug Skinner, from Black Scat, of course.

The Blaireau Affair

Captain Cap: His Adventures, His Ideas, His Drinks

Selected Plays of Alphonse Allais

Masks

The Squadron’s Umbrella

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“To leave is to die a little, but to die is to leave a lot.” –-Alphonse Allais

Cheers!

Theatre of the Absurd—Opening Night!

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“Witkiewicz takes up and continues the vein of dream and grotesque fantasy exemplified by the late Strindberg or by Wedekind; his ideas are closely paralleled by those of the surrealists and Antonin Artaud which culminated in the masterpieces of the dramatists of the absurd—Beckett, Ionesco, Genet, Arrabal—of the late nineteen forties and the nineteen fifties.” -Martin Esslin

Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz  (pen name: Witkacy) was desperate to get out of revolutionary St. Petersburg after the Bolsheviks seized power. Back in Poland, eager to make money and a name for himself, Witkacy began to write plays in a style that he called “Pure Form,” which foreshadowed the Theatre of the Absurd. By the time that he wrote VAHAZAR (1921), Witkacy had achieved a dreamlike dramaturgy:  centered on the paranoid and crazed despot, Vahazar, and spiraling outwards through an anthill society of automatons, religious cults, and quack scientific and social theories, this play is about being trapped in nothingness.

This translation of the play by Celina Wieniewska was commissioned by Stefan Themerson in 1967, and later announced as a forthcoming title by the legendary Gaberbocchus Press. Somehow the project was sidetracked and has never appeared until this Black Scat Books publication. Paul Rosheim, publisher of Obscure Publications and scholar of Themersonia, provides a sublime introduction with biographical information about Witkacy and the story of this translation. The book also includes an appendix featuring Franciszka Themerson’s “Vahazar: A Few Suggestions for Design.”

“…Witkiewicz, Bruno Schulz and myself, the three musketeers of the Polish avant-garde.” —Witold Gombrowicz

Available now on Amazon in the U.S. and Europe.

Click here to order this masterpiece of the absurd.