Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


Exploits & Opinions

Today marks the 110th anniversary of the seizure of the 27 equivalent books of Dr. Faustroll, and so I seized upon Exact Change's rendering of Jarry's neo-scientific novel, even thoughsorry, no longer available at the Pataphysics Research Lab. In short:

Doctor Faustroll is dunned for back rent by the bailiff Panmuphle, who inventories and seizes his library of "twenty-seven equivalent books." (BOOK ONE)
The elements of pataphysics are briefly set down and illustrated by an experiment in relativity and surface tension. (BOOK TWO)
Doctor Faustroll escapes the law in a skiff or sieve which travels on both land and water. He is accompanied by the baboon, Bosse-de-Nage, as navigator, and by Panmuphle, tamed by drink and chained to his seat, as oarsman and narrator until the next to last book. Their peregrinations carry them to fourteen lands or islands, whose topography and inhabitants are so described as to convey Jarry's comments on fourteen friends (or enemies) in the world of the arts - among them, Aubrey Beardsley, Léon Bloy, Gauguin, Gustave Kahn, Mallarmé, Henri de Régnier, and Marcel Schwob. (BOOK THREE)
After further navigations, discussions, and a great banquet, Faustroll discourses on death and starts a holo­caust in which Bosse-de-Nage perishes - provisionally. His monosyllabic and all-sufficing language ("Ha ha") is carefully analyzed. (BOOK FOUR)
After a coprological aside on the "legless cripple" who represents Pierre Loti, Faustroll puts Henri Rousseau in charge of a "painting machine" to "embellish" the aca­demic canvases hanging in the Luxembourg Museum. (BOOK FIVE)
While Faustroll has an erotic adventure, the painting machine under the Lucretian name of Clinamen executes thirteen paintings, each described in a short prose poem. (BOOK SIX)
Faustroll dies by drowning after sinking the skiff to avoid collision, and his body, like a tight scroll unfurled by the water, reveals the future in its spirals. (BOOK SEVEN)
The final book, entitled "Ethernity," resumes the treatise on pataphysics begun in BOOK TWO. Two tele­pathic letters from Faustroll to Lord Kelvin regarding the latter's experiments in measurement, matter, and light, are followed by a crowning pataphysical discourse on the "surface" and nature of God. In accurate geometrical theorems He is demonstrated to be "the tangential point between zero and infinity." (BOOK EIGHT)

'Pataphysics is teh Science ...

(... also leading to rediscovering Marcel Duchamp Studies Online Journal, via influence ...)


Blogger The Time-traveller and His Dog said...

"Passing Time" is one of my favourite novels.

I have had occasion to visit Manchester during the time of M Butor's residence at the university; and although I did not meet him, I am quite familiar with the most of the grimey, rainswept streets of Bleston down which Jacques Revel does his wanderings.

Although I have read the novel more than a dozen times and have gleaned a little more from on each reading, I still haven't got the slightest clue as to what happened on 29th February alluded to on the last page of the novel. If you have any idea(s)on the matter, I would be most obliged if you would share such with me.

Shine on brightly

12/2/08 20:33  

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