The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Entries Tagged as '‘pataphysics'

The Complete Works of Alphonse Allais (7-9)

July 14th, 2014 · No Comments

The fourth volume of Allais’s posthumous works (1968, 484 pp.) collects his column, La Vie Drôle, from Le Journal, 1897 to 1901.  The cover is attributed to Massin. The fifth volume of posthumous Allais (1968, 489 pp.) collects his contributions to Le Journal from 1901 to 1904.  The cover is again attributed to Massin.  The […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Alphonse Allais · Literature

The Complete Works of Alphonse Allais (4-6)

June 30th, 2014 · No Comments

The rest of François Caradec’s edition of Alphonse Allais’s works is devoted to the “posthumous works.” The term is not quite accurate; almost all of the material was published in Allais’s lifetime. However, it wasn’t included in the collections that Allais himself called his “anthumous works.”  By Caradec’s count, there are 1,887 articles, novels, pamphlets, […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Alphonse Allais · Literature

The Complete Works of Alphonse Allais (1-3)

June 23rd, 2014 · 1 Comment

Since so little is available in English about Alphonse Allais, and since I’m translating him, I think it would be useful to post a description of his complete works.  The standard edition was edited by François Caradec, and published by La Table Ronde in eleven volumes, from 1964 to  1970.  I’ll summarize it in four […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Alphonse Allais · 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 · Alphonse Allais · Literature

Captain Cap, Volume 3

August 5th, 2013 · No Comments

The third volume of the adventures of Captain Cap (there will be four) is now available from Black Scat Books, in a limited edition of 125.  The adventures of the prototypical ‘pataphysical antihero, first published by Alphonse Allais in 1902, have been scrupulously translated, illustrated, and annotated by Doug Skinner; they appear in English for […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Alphonse Allais · Books

Alphonse Allais: Les Combles

June 27th, 2013 · 4 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 · Alphonse Allais · Literature

Alphonse Allais’s “Petite Correspondance”

April 30th, 2013 · 7 Comments

We return to the great French journalist, humorist and nonpareil, Alphonse Allais.  I remind you that my translations of his Captain Cap stories, Captain Cap Volumes 1 and 2, are available from Black Scat Books; and that further installments are scheduled for July and August.  A collection of his immortal mockery of the reactionary critic […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Alphonse Allais · Literature

Captain Cap, Volume One

February 5th, 2013 · 5 Comments

Alphonse Allais was a peerless French humorist, celebrated posthumously by the Surrealists for his elegant style and disturbing imagination.  Among other things, he wrote a series of wonderful stories about his friend Albert Caperon.  In Allais’s hands, “Captain Cap” became an adventurer and inventor, with a disdain for bureaucracy and a heroic thirst for cocktails.  […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Alphonse Allais · Cartoons · Literature · Politics

Eleven Jarry Quotations

June 17th, 2012 · 2 Comments

If the melon insists on having slices, it will end up eaten by families. Boredom and idleness are, I think, the principal motives for devotion.  We only lift our eyes to the heavens when we have nothing to do or hope for on earth, and we only kiss holy images when we have nothing else […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Literature

The Pianocktail

January 26th, 2010 · 2 Comments

[As a postscript to "Pandora's Music Box," let me add this lovely imaginary instrument from Boris Vian.  It appears in his novel L'écume des jours (The Scum of the Days).  A number of artists have built plausible models of the Pianocktail; documentation can be found, here and there, on YouTube.  But let me translate the […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Literature · Music · Technology