The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Entries Tagged as '‘pataphysics'

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

Vernon Sullivan

October 23rd, 2009 · 6 Comments

[As a postscript to our event about hoaxes, I’ll post this account of a memorable literary hoax that may be unfamiliar to American readers.  It’s taken from my article “Boris Vian for Anglophones,” on the life and work of that French writer/musician, in Strange Attractor Journal Two.]  The war had ended, Paris was free, and nightlife […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Hoaxes · Literature

Teenage mumbo-jumbo?

August 19th, 2009 · 1 Comment

I think my high school offered one basic course in psychology, which I did not take. Surely it dealt in stripped-down basics – the classification of emotions, some de-sexualized Freudian theory, and maybe a little Jung thrown in for the artsy kids. I’d like to think, if I’d had the opportunity to take a class […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Belief Systems · Education · Forteana · Hoaxes · Mad Science · Mysteries · The Ineffable

Alfred Jarry in the Medical Museum

April 1st, 2009 · No Comments

Jarry?  In the medical museum?  It’s a funny place to find him, but there he is: the following prose poem, “Les Cinq Sens” (“The Five Senses”), is taken from his first book, Les Minutes de sable mémorial (Minutes of memorial sand, 1894).  In it, the narrator makes his way through a natural history museum into a […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Literature · Places · The Ineffable

Henri Salvador

December 27th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Henri Salvador, the great Guyanese singer/songwriter, died this year (back in February), and we never marked his passing here.  I wanted to salute him, briefly, before this dismal year evaporated for good. He had a long and active career in Europe and South America, but never crossed that baffling cultural divide to win much of an […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Literature · Music

Bulletin (2)

June 5th, 2008 · No Comments

The current issue of “Fate” (June 2008) contains my literary outburst “Fort and Those Damned Books of His.”  In it, I link Charles Fort to Pyrrhonism and ‘pataphysics, celebrate his eccentric style, and thread together other words to debunk the dogma that he was a credulous crank.  The occasion is the release of Jim Steinmeyer’s excellent […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Bulletins