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A surreal boat trip, utter garbage You can t even picture its absurdities due to the impenetrable style of writing Keeping a dictionary beside you might help a very little Also its made up of references or homages to other works few of which i or anyone else is likely to have read There are many other things which make it hard to read, such as its scientific references or mathematical jokes But i know this must be ART I can tell because i got the exact same feeling from this as i do when i see a sculpture worth a 100,000, made out of cat teeth and the artists own faeces. An amazing title Concerns the surreal odyssey of one Dr Faustroll who, among other things, sails in a sieve with his baboon and visits a series of bizarre and satirical islands all apparently located within downtown Paris before transforming into an astral body and attempting to calculate the surface of God Along the way he invents pataphysics, which is described as the science of imaginary solutions It s all very Rabelaisan and loads of fun. I was sadly disappointed by this book I had high expectations, but found the reading experience largely tedious My principal critique would have to be that, though the book is outrageous and silly, and thus appears to court laughs, it s actually mostly unfunny.It has produced a significant conflict within me I have, at a certain time past, written a certain work with only one guiding principle do not limit or constrain one s creativity in any way That is, I aimed to write without any concern for practicality of execution, without forcing the work to make any degree of sense, and without meeting any definition of what such a work should accomplish I found the results satisfying, though the final text remains secreted on a metaphorical shelf, hidden from prying eyes.Point Two I also generally believe that an artist should be entirely uncompromising, and thus should not give any regard to audience.In this book, Exploits, etc., Jarry is absolutely unconstrained, in fact far beyond what I thought unconstrained could mean He is also entirely uncompromising So, I should like the result, right Or else I should question my own principals, perhaps Well, no.In fact, I think I will enjoy this book in retrospect than I did while in the process of actually reading it Will it undergo a similar transformation within my mind to what Even Dwarves Started Small the Herzog Film did Only time will tell In the case of that film, I profoundly disliked watching it, and it irked me greatly but then I found myself talking about the film far often than I d have expected, and then I suspected that I really liked it and my obsession with it virtually proved that the film had had a profound impact on me Well, hummm.But here s another reflection Faustroll is not surrealism, but it may be regarded as a sort of proto surrealism, as the surrealists were inspired by Jarry and his works But anyway, there is a sort of literature film art whatever which is difficult to label, some might call it surrealism, or absurdism, or dadaism, or Oulipo, or weirdism or whatever, and it doesn t quite matter that proponents of these various schools and movements disagreed strongly in their theories, intentions, self images, and definitions Let s just call it surrealism for now, just for kicks, and that will be the starting point for my next paragraph.One example of a faith that I hold is that surrealism is not a gimmick, and it s unfair to regard it as one Conventional narrative can include a near infinite variety of products, good and bad, effective and affective or their opposites without limit to the forms that can be produced yet many forms may group themselves around the generic cliche Anyway, if we see surrealism as, not a gimmick, but an alternative way, then there could be as many or infinite forms, effects and affects, etc., etc I bore myself sometimes as what can be produced within conventional narrative There s no particular reason why the world could not produce and publish 30,000 surrealist novels every year, with as much variance in quality and content as we see among conventional works like The Pelican Brief and Tristram Shandy the latter being very odd, but NOT surreal, and thus conventional in only this limited sense plus it was a bestseller in its day, so oddly enough mainstream So the point is, not all odd books are of a class They can widely vary in degree of accomplishment and in what they attempt to achieve But critiquing them can be a pain in the ass, and evaluation can be an aesthetic judgment that does not readily lend itself to the conventional terms used in critiquing conventional works.Dr Faustroll didn t deliver a form of greatness that I can quite enjoy or appreciate, while I allow for the fact that this somewhat adolescent antic of a book was provocative enough to inspire later, accomplished works to venture into previously unexplored territory.I say this despite the fact that this book reminds me of me far than I enjoy having to admit. Since, by the laws of pataphysics, each thing defines and supersedes it s opposite thing, this worst of all novels because lacking an acceptable narrative or believable characters or a coherent point is, of course, the greatest of all novels for its scientific complexity, utterly trivial silliness, homage to so many friends, send up of Sir john Mandeville s travels, and the finest drawn of all loquacious characters in the history of literature, Bosse de Nage, the butt cheek faced baboon cabin boy of the bed sieve boat that sails upon land into and beyond time and space at last to find God through the mathematical geometrical formulae of lord Kelvin I would have added, Ha Ha, but decided, in this instance, to hold my tongue and to make no further comment It is obvious by now that I am a descendant of this novel s protagonist except the Americans misspelled my last name somewhat Up to now the disguise seems to be working. Either I am too stupid, or this book is stupid Am I stupid No is this book stupid Well define stupid I use this word actually to point some facts pretentious too visual, but not in the surrealist Boris Vian kind of visual tries to joggle with the idea of journey At least in a journey book, you get some interesting story everywhere where the hero lands Here there are only boring descriptions if you don t know all those characters quite accurately, you stand no chance The preface and the postface say, there are allegories concerning those to me unknown artists but Gauguin where there was no allegory and Mallarme where i did not get it I stopped reading before i got the chance to throw it away Reading this is like having a gas enter your ear and float about just touching some neurons and just as quickly float back out Maybe it leaves a molecule The molecule is pronounced HA HA. This novel does not have much of a plot It depicts a three men in a tub situation to be exact, two men and a baboon The three experience a series of adventures, some with mortal consequences, as they visit different fantastic islands The novel includes a lecture by Faustroll on Pataphysics.The writing, with sentences like The place where the sun sets has the appearance, between the folds comprising the Town s mesentery, of the vermiform appendix of a caecum 59 , will send some readers scrambling for their dictionaries Others, though, may enjoy Jarry s sense of humor but for pure farce, Jarry s play Ubu Roi is probably a better choice than Doctor Faustroll.Jarry was a Dadaist, and Dadaism was a paradoxical movement, seeking to produce anti art one of the better known Dadaist works was a signed urinal, a readymade attributed to Marcel Duchamp In this context, perhaps the ridiculously mannered style and the episodic, and ultimately pointless, narrative reflect an anti artistic, anti literary impulse although an argument could be made that Jarry intends the episodic narrative as a parody of travel journals and picaresque novels If, though, Faustroll is intended as anti literary, how is one to rank it As George Carlin asks, If you try to fail and succeed, which have you done I m giving to this book three stars one for its indifference to literary convention and readers expectations, a second for the way it throws a Godelian monkey wrench into the machinery of critical ranking systems, half a star for the sophomoric story, and another half a star for its style consider this, for instance The meshed base, unsinkable because of its oily coating, rested upon the waves denticulation like a sturgeon upon several harpoons, and beneath it was a keyboard of water and air alternately 95. I read Ubu Roi in high school, and remember it as being rather surreal and wacky, but in his novel, Jarry is or less stringing together Tom Waits lyrics Well, really Frenchy ones he s cut from the same black and white striped cloth as Raymond Queneau and Blaise Cendrars, all bicycles and wine bottles and accordions and what not, which I don t mind at all The text itself is barely a narrative, but you kind of just groove on the images, and, this is important, it s short enough that the being barely a narrative doesn t grate. By way of making some introductory remarks, Roger Shattuck,Proveditor General Propagator for the Islands and the Americas, Regent by Transseant Susception of the Chair of Applied Mateology, GMOGG, says, The canons of literary taste as they have hardened in the twentieth century leave little place for Rabelais FMF et al had already poured that concrete already so early that it didn t almost even have a chance And you ll recall what was said in Twelve and a Tilly We must become as little children, for they have no difficulty with Finnegans Wake They have no taste they can enjoy good writing as well as bad Only with time and teaching do they learn to prefer the bad Twas brillig and the slithy toves, Did gyre and gimble in the wabe ETC And therewith I confess, reserving all due respect and placing no blame, that it is in fact possible to have good sense and good taste educated out of a person I don t think educated out of is the correct phrase Ha ha.So there s no place today for a Jarry Either that or there s so damn many Jarry s suffocating us all that who needs yet another Jarry from 1898 Well yes Who needs Jarry indeed As long as I ve still got my pataphycians card, dues paid in advance, what the hell do I care what the rest of you have to say about Jarry Jarry Jerry quite contrary Who s field is this anyways His No I ll be damn ed it s not his field any than its yorns and be gob d if I think it s that A A.The novel about Dr Faustroll which is really a biography, and could even be a smartly disguised autobiography or travelogue like the one about invisible cities or even one of those apocalyptic things in the tradition of Ezekiel s wheels and John s four horses, is really in fact a Roman a clef On page 58 you ll find the clef Treble only No bass, it bothers the neighbors I don t recall any of those outstanding type of Romans but I ve no doubt they were there since they are in fact and in truth the ancestors of the Italian Mafia, after whom the Amish model d theirs, and they, as you know can be found everywhere, even up on the top treble clef singing probably both alto and soprano I may be mistaken but it could have been a Roman a cliff, but then wouldn t likely have been a Dover cliff a weise You ll know all about those Romans and their clef when you read all the answers in the back provided by the translator But whatever you think about Romans and cliffs, it will endure beyond even the reach of pataphysics which itself reaches beyond metaphysics which itself reaches beyond physics which itself reaches beyond icks, that A A Ha ha.And before I leave you to go drown in whatever syrupy prose you might find yourself currently inwhich drowning I d just like to point to a potentially fruitful area of pataphysical research And it is quite simply and quite directly and quite obviously this What precisely is the status of the Apostrophe in pataphysics The answer should be obvious but then when one reads the sacred texts closely it becomes suddenly and little by little not quite so clear that there is any kind of apo consistancy Perhaps it is only in so far as it remains the crux of the biscuit La Pataphysique est la science. `E-PUB ↡ Gestes et opinions du docteur Faustroll, pataphysicien ⇠ Alfred Jarry Is Best Known As The Author Of The Proto Dada Play Ubu Roi, But This Anarchic Novel Of Absurdist Philosophy Is Widely Regarded As The Central Work To His Oeuvre Refused For Publication In The Author S Lifetime, Exploits And Opinion Of Dr Faustroll Recounts The Adventures Of The Inventor Of Pataphysics The Science Of Imaginary Solutions Pataphysics Has Since Inspired Artists As Diverse As Marcel Duchamp And The S Rock Band Soft Machine, As Well As The Mythic Literary Organization The College De Pataphysique Simon Watson Taylor S Superb Annotated Translation Which In Turn Inspired A New French Edition Of The Text Was First Published By Grove Press In As Part Of Their Now Out Of Print Collection, Selected Works Of Alfred Jarry As A Result, This Most Important Novel By Jarry Has Never Before Been Published Under Its Own Title In English