The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Entries Tagged as 'Literature'

Raymond Roussel and Arthur Edward Waite

February 14th, 2014 · 3 Comments

Raymond Roussel’s two plays, l’Étoile au Front (The Star on the Brow, 1924) and la Poussière de Soleils (The Dust of Suns, 1926), bear titles that have long intrigued Rousselians.  In each case, the title bears little or no relation to the play, and is mentioned only at the end, in a rhetorical flourish.  In […]

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Tags: Literature

Pierre Gustave Brunet and the Literature of the Insane

January 27th, 2014 · No Comments

Pierre Gustave Brunet (1805-1896) compiled bibliographies.  I know nothing else about him.  His output was remarkable, though, as were the subjects he chose: Pope Joan, Biblical apocrypha, theological curiosities, imaginary libraries, fictional publishers, literary frauds, scatological texts, facetious literature, and lost books, among others. His best remembered work is probably his 1880 compendium, Les Fous […]

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Tags: Books · Literature

Cap Recap

November 25th, 2013 · No Comments

Many thanks to those of you who stopped by the Jalopy Theater to hear me read from my translation of Alphonse Allais’s Captain Cap: His Adventures, His Ideas, His Drinks.  And thanks also to Feral Foster, who brought the American Lemonade, the drink Cap enjoys in Chapter 40, to today’s palates.  Photos of the event, […]

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Tags: Literature

Black Scat Review 5

November 6th, 2013 · No Comments

  The fifth issue of Black Scat Review is now available!  This one contains “Captain Cap Plays a Trick,” an excerpt from my translation of Alphonse Allais’s Captain Cap.  It also features work by Mark Axelrod, Shane Roeschlein, Patrizia Valduga‏, Harold Jaffe, Brett Stout, Andy O’Clancy, Samy Sfoggia, Nile Southern, Robert Hahn, and Michela Martini.  […]

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Tags: Literature

Captain Cap: The Trade Edition

October 11th, 2013 · 2 Comments

  The trade edition of Captain Cap is now available!  Alphonse Allais’s hard-drinking, proto-pataphysical antihero, based on his friend Albert Caperon, bullies bartenders, swindles prostitutes, travels the world, and offers such useful inventions as the smell-buoy, the kangacycle, volatile ink, the bacteria motor, and much more.  This edition collects the four installments previously published by […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Literature

Captain Cap, Volume 4

September 23rd, 2013 · No Comments

The fourth and final volume of Captain Cap is now available from Black Scat Books.  In these sixteen stories, Alphonse Allais’s hard-drinking polymath proposes crocodile bridges, volatile ink, the kangacycle, smell-buoys, and much more.  Captain Cap, first published in 1902, and continually popular in France, has previously been translated into Czech, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, […]

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Tags: Literature

Little Blue Books by Forteans (4): Harry Elmer Barnes

August 27th, 2013 · 2 Comments

I’ve posted the Little Blue Books of Theodore Dreiser, Ben Hecht, and John Cowper Powys.  None of the other Founders (Tiffany Thayer, Harry Leon Wilson, Burton Rascoe, Alexander Woollcott, J. David Stern, Aaron Sussman, Booth Tarkington) wrote for Haldeman-Julius — except one.  That was Harry Elmer Barnes. Barnes quickly disappeared from the Founders’ roster.  He […]

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Tags: Forteana · Literature

Alphonse Allais: Les Combles

June 27th, 2013 · 3 Comments

At the beginning of his literary career, Alphonse Allais contributed squibs, jokes, and one-liners to various small Parisian papers.  He followed already established formulas: the fable-express (a brief fable with a punning moral), the autograph (a line ending with a pun on someone’s name).  He became particularly identified with the comble, the “acme.”  He didn’t […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Literature

Little Blue Books by Forteans (2): Ben Hecht

June 6th, 2013 · No Comments

Ben Hecht declared himself “the first disciple of Charles Fort” in a review of The Book of the Damned,  and used the opportunity to coin the word “Fortean.”  Tiffany Thayer said the took Hecht as a model when he started writing fiction; and Thirteen Men, in particular, seems to aim for Hecht’s distinctive flash. Like […]

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Tags: Forteana · Literature

Little Blue Books by Forteans (1): Theodore Dreiser

June 3rd, 2013 · 9 Comments

The “Little Blue Books” were published by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius from about 1919 to 1947.  They were small, cheaply produced, and sold for around a nickel.  There were over 2000 of them; the exact number, despite diligent scholars, is unknown, since the books were often retitled, assigned new numbers, or replaced by other books. Haldeman-Julius started […]

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Tags: Forteana · Literature