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Flametti, or The Dandyism of the Poor
Hugo Ball
Translated by Catherine Schelbert, with an introduction by Marc Dachy
Illustratrations by Tal R
May 2014

Hugo Ball wrote Flametti in 1916, the year he authored his "Dada Manifesto" and opened the Cabaret Voltaire, but only published it two years later, after he had withdrawn from the Dada movement he had helped create. The tumultuous tale of the rise and fall of a vaudeville company and its ever-resourceful, ever-beleaguered leader, Flametti captures the era and atmosphere of a wartime Zürich, a city-portrait that stands alongside Christopher Isherwood's later literary portrayal of Berlin.

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The Physiology of the Employee
Honoré de Balzac
Translated, with an introduction, by André Naffis-Sahely
Illustrated by M. Trimolet

Originally published in 1841, Honoré de Balzac’s ferocious little Physiology of the Employee was one of the first texts to analyze the growing phenomenon of bureacracy and its unsettling ability to congeal any form of action. An anecdotal and axiomatic guidebook to the different characters and functions to be found in the office setting, Balzac's humorous (and illustrated) physiology—never before translated—offers a remarkably contemporary portrait of life at the desk.

GRD

The Emperor of China, The Mute Canary, and The Executioner of Peru
Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes
Translated, with an introduction, by Christopher Butterfield
2014

Three savage plays from the man André Breton designated as one of the only “true Dadas” (alongside Tristan Tzara and Francis Picabia): The Emperor of China (1916), The Mute Canary (1920), and The Executioner of Peru (1928). In their brutal depictions of violent sexuality and nightmarish tyranny, these plays remain highpoints in the Dada movement's contribution to the theater, but were also anticipations of Antonin Artaud's Theater of Cruelty and the Theater of the Absurd of the 1960s—not to mention the years of absurdist horror that the twentieth century still had waiting in the wings after World War I.

mynona

The Creator
Mynona
Translated, with an introduction, by Peter Wortsman
Afterword by Detlef Thiel
Illustrated by Alfred Kubin

Salomo Friedlaender (1871–1946) was both a serious philosopher and a bohemian “debauchee,” who once described himself as a synthesis of Immanuel Kant and Charlie Chaplin. He wrote under two names: his own for his more philosophical work (which included such books as Creative Indifference and Kant for Kids), and Mynona (the German word for “anonymous” backward) for the stories he labeled as “grotesques.” The Creator, first published in 1920 and illustrated throughout by his friend Alfred Kubin, is his most sustained grotesque: a tale of angel breeding and dream technology that explicates Friedlaender’s notions of Kantian idealism through the lens of E. T. A. Hoffmann.

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The Trumpets of Jericho
Unica Zürn
Translated, with an introduction, by Christina Svendsen

This fierce fable of childbirth by German surrealist Unica Zürn was written after she had already given birth to two children and undergone the self-induced abortion of another in Berlin in the 1950s. Never before translated into English, this novella dramatizes the frontiers of the body—its defensive walls as well as its cavities and thresholds—animating a harrowing and painfully, twistedly honest depiction of motherhood as a breakdown in the distinction between self and other, transposed into the language of darkest fairytales.

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The Arthritic Grasshopper and Other Tales
Gisèle Prassinos
Translated, with an introduction, by Bonnie Ruberg

First discovered, celebrated, and published by the Surrealists at the age of fourteen, Gisèle Prassinos quickly established herself in the literary world as a fount of automatic tales woven through with transgressive humor and coy menace. “Gisèle Prassinos’s tone is unique,” claimed André Breton, “all the poets are jealous of it. Swift lowers his eyes, Sade shuts his candy box.” The Arthritic Grasshopper gathers together her early literary prose from 1934 to 1944, an assortment of anxious dream tales drawn from journals and plaquettes, introduced and illustrated by such admirers as Paul Éluard and Hans Bellmer.

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The King in the Golden Mask
Marcel Schwob
Translated, with an introduction, by Kit Schluter

Never before translated in toto, The King in the Golden Mask was Marcel Schwob's second book of fiction, and offers a full display of his mastery of the short story and the depth of his erudition: twenty-one tales of murder and suicide, royal leprosy and medieval witchcraft, with eunuchs, Libyan embalming women, and Milesian virgins, all set in a variety of historical periods, from the Ice Age to the Plague

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