The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Entries Tagged as 'Books'

Illustrated Songbooks (2)

May 29th, 2017 · No Comments

“The Baby’s Opera,” an 1877 offering from Walter Crane, includes both decorated sheet music and full-page illustrations, all at 7 and a half inches square. This is what songbooks should be like! (Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Tags: Books

I Am Sarcey

April 1st, 2017 · No Comments

I Am Sarcey is now available from Black Scat Books! Francisque Sarcey was Paris’s most celebrated critic in the 1890s, and one of its most conservative. He famously panned Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi as “a filthy fraud that deserves nothing but the silence of contempt,” and praised light, commercial fare. Not surprisingly, he became an […]

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Tags: Alphonse Allais · Books

The Downcast Sun

December 2nd, 2015 · 5 Comments

This picture comes from a Czech children’s book, Pohádky Před Spaním, by Frank Wenig. I don’t read Czech, so I don’t know why the sun is downcast. I like the picture, though. According to an online Czech-English dictionary, the title means Fairy Tales Before Bedtime. (Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Tags: Books

The Blaireau Affair

September 1st, 2015 · No Comments

The Blaireau Affair is now available from Black Scat Books! Alphonse Allais’s only novel, first published in 1899, has never been out of print in France, and has inspired four movies. It’s summer in the provinces, and Blaireau, the local poacher, is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. There are futile political squabbles, a […]

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Tags: Alphonse Allais · Books

The Doug Skinner Dossier

July 8th, 2015 · No Comments

The Doug Skinner Dossier is now available from Black Scat Books! This blessed compendium features articles, short stories, verses, columns, literary essays, alphabets, metrical translations, monologues, talks, cartoons, rounds, lipogrammatic smut, a puppet show, a ventriloquism routine, and a one-act play.  248 pages of pure, unadulterated Skinner. Holy cow! (Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Tags: Books

101 Plots Used and Abused

July 1st, 2015 · 4 Comments

101 Plots Used and Abused, a 1946 writer’s manual by James N. Young, is one of my favorite books. Young, an editor at Collier’s, collected all of the tritest plots he knew, so that short story writers could avoid them. In this revised edition, there are actually 126 of them. They’re all here: the prisoner […]

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Tags: Books

Masks

May 7th, 2015 · No Comments

In 2012, Norman Conquest kicked off the Absurdist Texts and Documents series at Black Scat Books with his illustrated adaptation of Alphonse Allais’s story Un drame bien parisien. The original limited edition is now out of print. He has just republished a new expanded edition, with an introduction and notes by Doug Skinner. You can […]

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Tags: Alphonse Allais · Books

The Zombie of Great Peru

April 3rd, 2015 · 1 Comment

The Zombie of Great Peru, or the Countess of Cocagne, by Pierre-Corneille Blessebois, rises from the grave in its first English edition, translated by Doug Skinner! It’s available now from Black Scat Books. This bizarre novel, written in 1697, marks the first mention of the word “zombie” in world literature. It is a wicked tale […]

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Tags: Books

The Squadron’s Umbrella

March 4th, 2015 · No Comments

 The Squadron’s Umbrella is now out from Black Scat Books! I quote the publisher: Authored by Alphonse Allais Translated by Doug Skinner 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 […]

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Tags: Alphonse Allais · Books

Dinner in 18th Century England

February 16th, 2015 · No Comments

Guillaume Apollinaire, in his preface to a French edition of Fanny Hill, offered a look at dinner in that period. He may have paraphrased it from the book (I never read it); at any rate, here it is, in my translation. Here is a description of a fine English dinner in the month of June. […]

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Tags: Books · Dietary Mores