Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Championed by the Surrealists, an influence on Duchamp, Robbe-Grillet and the Nouveau Roman, the Oulipo, and John Ashbery and the New York School, Raymond Roussel wandered the world in his tricked-out Winnebago never stepping outside, fabricating whole worlds from puns, whole plots from punctuation.

LOCUS SOLUS, Raymond Roussel
(Hardcover) Calder & Boyars, London 1970.

"A prominent scientist and inventor, Martial Canterel, has invited a group of colleagues to visit the park of his country estate, Locus Solus. As the group tours the estate, Canterel shows them inventions of ever-increasing complexity and strangeness. Again, exposition is invariably followed by explanation, the cold hysteria of the former giving way to the innumerable ramifications of the latter. After an aerial pile driver which is constructing a mosaic of teeth and a huge glass diamond filled with water in which float a dancing girl, a hairless cat, and the preserved head of Danton, we come to the central and longest passage: a description of eight curious tableaux vivants taking place inside an enormous glass cage. We learn that the actors are actually dead people whom Canterel has revived with 'resurrectine,' a fluid of his invention which if injected into a fresh corpse causes it continually to act out the most important incident of its life." -John Ashbery, from the introduction to Death and the Labyrinth by Michel Foucault.

(Hardcover) University of California Press, 1967.

"A group of Europeans has been shipwrecked off the coast of Africa. Talou, a tribal king, is holding them for ransom.In order to distract themselves from the until the ransom money arrives, the travelers plan a "gala" for the day of their liberation. each contributes a number utilizing his or her particular talents, and the first half of the book is an account of the gala, puntuated by a series of executions which Talou has ordained for certain of his subjects who have incurred his wrath. The second half is a logical explanation of the preposterous and fantastic scenes which have gone before." -again, John Ashbery, Death and the Labyrinth

also available:

Death and Labyrinth by Michel Foucault (Paperback) $14.95

Raymond Roussel & the Republic of Dreams by Mark Ford (Hardcover) $14.95

Raymond Roussel, Impressions of Africa
(Paperback) $19.95

Raymond Roussel, Locus Solus
(Paperback) $19.95

All titles can be purchased from:

Brickbat Books
709 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

215 592 1207

Open every day, 11am to 7pm.

We accept Visa, MC, Amex, and cash.

We ship anywhere.

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