The Pataphysician’s Library

BookThe Pataphysician’s Library

The Pataphysician’s Library

An Exploration of Alfred Jarry’s ‘Livres pairs’

2000

December 1st, 2000

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The Pataphysician’s Library is a study of aspects of 1890s French literature, with specific reference to the traditions of Symbolism and Decadence. Its main focus is Alfred Jarry, who has proved, perhaps surprisingly, to be one of the more durable fin-de-siècle authors. The originality of this study lies in its use of the enigmatic list of books termed the livres pairs, which appears in Jarry’s 1898 novel Gestes et Opinions du docteur Faustroll, pataphysicien, his best-known prose work. The greatest interest of the livres pairs lies in a group of works by Jarry’s friends and contemporaries, primarily Leon Bloy, Georges Darien, Gustave Kahn, Catulle Mendes, Josephin Madan, Rachilde, and Henri de Regnier. Several of these authors feature as the lords of islands visited by the pataphysician Dr Faustroll in his curious voyage around Paris. In conjunction with Jarry’s own works, the contemporary livres pairs serve to illustrate the vibrant and experimental atmosphere in which these authors worked.

Author Information

Ben Fisher was Head of French at Bangor University.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page3
Contents7
Acknowledgements9
Abbreviations11
Introduction13
Part I: Faustroll's Library25
The Pictures27
Une affiche de Toulouse-Lautrec, Jane Avril27
Une de Bonnard, La Revue Blanche28
Un portrait du sieur Faustroll, par Aubrey Beardsley29
Une vieille image, laquelle nous a paru sans valeur, saint Cado, de l’imprimerie Oberthür de Rennes29
The Books33
1. Baudelaire, un tome d’Edgar Poe, traduction35
2. Bergerac, OEuvres, tome II, contenant l’Histoire des Etats et Empires du Soleil, et l’Histoire des Oiseaux37
3. L’Evangile de Saint Luc, en grec41
4. Bloy, Le Désespéré43
4. Bloy, Le Mendiant ingrat47
5. Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner50
6. Darien, Biribi52
6. Darien, Le Voleur55
7. Desbordes-Valmore, Le Serment des petits hommes58
8. Elskamp, Salutations, dont d’angéliques62
8. Elskamp, Enluminures66
9. Un volume dépareillé du Théâtre de Florian69
10. Un volume dépareillé des Mille et Une Nuits, traduction Galland71
11. Grabbe, Scherz, Satire, Ironie und tiefere Bedeutung, comédie en trois actes73
12. Kahn, Le Livre d’images77
12. Kahn, Le Conte de l’Or et du Silence81
13. Lautréamont, Les Chants de Maldoror86
14. Maeterlinck, Pelléas et Mélisande87
14. Maeterlinck, Aglavaine et Sélysette90
15. Mallarmé, Divagations92
15. Mallarmé, Vers et prose93
16. Mendès, Gog95
17. L’Odyssée, édition Teubner101
18. Péladan, Babylone102
19. Rabelais107
20. Jean de Chilra, La Princesse des ténèbres110
20. Jean de Chilra, L’Heure sexuelle113
21. Henri de Régnier, La Canne de jaspe116
22. Rimbaud, Les Illuminations121
23. Schwob, La Croisade des enfants123
24. Ubu Roi126
25. Verlaine, Sagesse127
26. Verhaeren, Les Campagnes hallucinées130
27. Verne, Le Voyage au Centre de la Terre134
Observations139
Part II: Recurring Themes143
Faith and Esoterica: Symbolist Thought145
Esoteric Themes and Treatments146
The Gospel according to Mendès151
Esoteric Tolerances153
Péladan154
Magi159
Faith without Esotericism165
Bloy: Faith and Constraint169
Jarry: Hermeticism and Faith172
Heroes: The Symbolist Übermensch183
The Avoidance of Heroes184
The Decline of the Decadent186
The Rise of the Aggressive Individualist192
The Symbolist Hero201
Conclusion216
Bibliography221
Index235