Adventures In ’Pataphysics

In a short and legendary life, Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) created a unique and large body of work that included plays, novels, poetry, journalism and other less definable speculations and texts. His writings form the essential bridge between the European avant-garde of the 1890s (Symbolism) and those of the Twentieth century (Futurism, Dada, Surrealism). In the last fifty years his influence has scarcely faltered, in particular his science of ’Pataphysics has informed the recent writings of Deleuze, Baudrillard and Eco, among others. The College of ’Pataphysics, founded in Jarry’s honour, has numbered among its members luminaries such as Cortázar, Duchamp, Ionesco, Leiris, Queneau and most of the other writers of the “Oulipo".

Despite this influence he is still best known in English as the author of Ubu Roi; the aim of this three volume Collected Works is to make the totality of his major writings available in English for the first time.

This first volume presents his first two books, Black Minutes of Memorial Sand and Caesar-Antichrist, two apocalyptic Symbolist texts which already signal their self-destruction through the presence of Ubu.

A series of essays follows: aesthetic (Time in Art), philosophical (To Be and To Live), political (perhaps: Visions of the Present and Future), and concludes with his famous treatise on how to actually construct a time machine (convincing enough to be taken seriously by contemporary scientists). Jarry’s own selection of his speculative journalism completes this volume.

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