Exploits & Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician
by Alfred Jarry
Translated by Simon Watson Taylor, Introduction by Roger Shattuck
160 pages, paperback
Jarry is best known as the author of the proto-Dada play Ubu Roi, but this anarchic novel of absurdist philosophy is widely regarded as the central work to his oeuvre. Written in 1898 and refused for publication in the author’s lifetime, Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll recounts the adventures of the inventor of ” ’Pataphysics… the science of imaginary solutions.” ’Pataphysics has since inspired artists as diverse as Marcel Duchamp and the ’60s rock band Soft Machine, as well as the mythic literary organization, the Collège de ’Pataphysique. Simon Watson Taylor’s superb annotated translation (which in turn inspired a new French edition of the text) was first published by Grove Press in 1965 as part of their now out-of-print collection, Selected Works of Alfred Jarry. As a result this most important novel by Jarry has never before been published under its own title in English.
“The complement to the Ubu plays… a stupendous effort to create out of the ruins Ubu had left behind a new system of values… Jarry would have found an audience more readily had he written simply a work of science fiction, a symbolist narrative, a bawdy tale, or a spiritual allegory. As it is, Faustroll is [all of these] at the same time” —Roger Shattuck, author of The Banquet Years