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.
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