Sunday, April 22, 2012
"Pataphysical Essays" by René Daumal
Pathaphysics, the science of imaginary solutions, is a science made up by the writer Alfred Jarry. What may be a joke to some has become a life-time obsession for writers & artists such as Boris Vian, Raymond Queneau, Marcel Duchamp, John Cage and etc. & etc. In many ways its laughter, but taken on an almost (anti) spiritual level. If its a joke, it's a type of humor to convey the absurdity of 20th Century life.
René Daumal a sort of Surrealist (who refused to join up with Breton & Co) and a man devoted to the spiritual side of life. He wrote two wonderful books - "A Night of Serious Drinking" and "Mount Analogue." And also self-taught himself Sanskrit language. So here's a young man totally obsessed with the thought of death and what happens afterwards. In many ways, Daumal is the perfect card carrying member of Pataphysics - because as a science it is not really there, and what's there is a spiritual essence of what is not explained. Nor can it be explained. So in other words a perfect medium for the Poet!
The publisher Wakefield Press, is one of the great small presses out there right now. Beautifully designed, well thought out, and just brilliant.