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Forthcoming Titles

Bloy

Disagreeable Tales
Léon Bloy
Translated, with an introduction, by Erik Butler

Tales of theft, incest, murder, and cruelty from the “ungrateful beggar” and “pilgrim of the absolute,” Léon Bloy. Disagreeable Tales, first published in French in 1894, collects Bloy’s sermons from the depths: a cauldron of frightful anecdotes and inspired misanthropy that represents a highpoint of the French decadent movement and the most emblematic entry into the library of the “Cruel Tale” christened by Villiers de l’Isle-Adam. Said Franz Kafka: “[H]is fire is nurtured by the dung-heap of modern times.”

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zurn

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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scheerbarthead1

Rakkóx the Billionaire and The Great Race
Paul Scheerbart
Translated, with an introduction, by W. C. Bamberger

Two novellas from the anti-erotic inventor of perpetual motion: Rakkóx the Billionaire, a “Protean Novel” that tells the tale of a multibillionaire obsessed with realizing such militaristic fantasies as the utilization of herring in submarine warfare; and The Great Race, a “Development Novel in Eight Different Tales,” which describes an intergalactic competition among worm spirits wishing to separate from their stars, in a race whose winners will be transformed into gods.

WITTKOP2

Exemplary Departures
Gabrielle Wittkop
Translated, with an afterword, by Annette David

Five exquisitely wrought novellas depicting five “exemplary” deaths in various exotic locations around the globe: a gentleman spy disappears with his secrets into the Malaysian jungle; a young woman agonizes atop a ruined castle overlooking the Rhine; a writer succumbs to alcoholism in the streets of Baltimore; a salesman expires as a vagabond in the sewers of New York; and hermaphroditic twins are assassinated in a stagecoach. A true modern inheritor of the legacy of the French Decadent writers, Wittkop spins these tales with her trademark macabre elegance and chilling humor.

michaux

Life in the Folds
Henri Michaux
Translated, with an introduction, by Darren Jackson

Originally published in French in 1949, Life in the Folds stands as Henri Michaux’s most direct (and most violent) depiction of the many forms of suffering: a poetic laboratory of aggressive fantasy and destructive energy in which the artist-poet presents varied devices and methods for dealing with the world around him. Writing from the vantage-point of a tramatized, post-war Europe, these folds also bear the scars of Michaux’s own personal catastrophes, summed up in the wearied, autobiographical testament that concludes the book, “Old Age of Pollagoras.”

willems

The Cathedral of Mist
Paul Willems
Translated, with an introduction, by Edward Gauvin

A late collection of short stories from the last of the great Francophone Belgian fantasists: distilled tales of distant journeys, buried memories, and impossible architecture. The Cathedral of Mist offers the sort of ethereal narratives that might have come from the pen of a more sorrowful Italo Calvino, and is accompanied by two meditative essays on reading and writing that fall in the tradition of Julien Gracq’s classic Reading Writing.

Wittkop1

Murder Most Serene
Gabrielle Wittkop
Translated, with an introduction, by Louise Rogers Lalaurie

A gamey novella from the self-styled modern female heir to the Marquis de Sade: in the last days of the Venetian Republic, the serial wives of Count Alvise Lanzi suffer mysterious, agonizing deaths. A cruel portrait of a beautiful, corrupt city state and its equally extravagant, cruel, and corrupt inhabitants. Redolent of darkness, death, corruption, poison, and transgression, Murder Most Serene is also an over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek Venetian romp.

schwob

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 years of the Plague.

giseleprassinos

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.

ponge

The Table
Francis Ponge
Translated, with an introduction, by Colombina Zamponi

Written over a series of early mornings from 1967 to 1973, The Table forms a chapter in Francis Ponge’s endless interrogation of the unassuming objects in his life: in this case, the table upon which he wrote. In this labored employment of words to destroy words and get at the presence lying beneath his elbow, Ponge charts out a space of silent consolation beyond scientific objectivity and poetic transport.

remediosvaro

Letters, Dreams, and Other Texts
Remedios Varo
Translated, with an introduction, by Margaret Carson

The Surrealist painter’s collected writings, most of which were never published in her lifetime, nor ever before translated into English. This collection includes an unpublished interview, unsent letters to unknown people, dreams and notes, a draft for a play, exercises in Surrealist automatic writing, and her longest manuscript, the extraordinary pseudoscientific De Homo Rodans, a study of a wheeled manlike creature written by the invented anthropologist Hälikcio von Fuhrängschmidt.

panizza

The Pig, in Poetic, Mythological, and Moral-Historical Perspective
Oskar Panizza
Translated, with an introduction, by Erik Butler

The pig is the sun... So begins Oskar Panizza’s outrageously heretical and massively erudite essay on the pig, originally published in 1900 in his journal, Zurich Discussions (self-published by Panizza in Switzerland after serving a year in a Munich prison on 93 counts of blasphemy for his play, The Love Council). The author contends, through painstakingly philological argumentation, that the miraculous swine occupies a central, celestial position as the life-giving force animating the entire universe, usurping the place of God as the beginning and end of all things.

JeandelaVilledeMirmont

The Sundays of Jean Dézert
Jean de la Ville de Mirmont
Translated, with an introduction, by André Naffis-Sahely

Before his death at the age of 27 on the front lines of World War I, Jean de la Ville de Mirmont left behind one undisputed classic, an understated tale of urban solitude and alienation that outlines the crushing mediocrity of bureaucratic existence. Through his strangely psychogeographical efforts at injecting some content into his life by structuring his days off through a rigorous use of advertising flyers, the character of Jean Dézert emerges as something of a French counterpart to Herman Melville’s own rebel bureaucrat, Bartleby the Scrivener. Save that when it comes to being an existential rebel, Jean Dézert prefers not to...

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