ARTBOOK LOGO

ARTBOOK BLOG

WHAT'S NEW?
EVENTS
BOOKS IN THE MEDIA
AT FIRST SIGHT
FEATURED IMAGES
EX LIBRIS
ARTBOOK INTERVIEWS
EXCERPTS & ESSAYS
FROM THE SHELVES

RECENT POSTS

DATE 4/19/2014

Sigmar Polke: Alibis

DATE 4/17/2014

Sigmar Polke: Alibis 1963-2010

DATE 4/16/2014

'Richard Serra: Early Work' Launch Events at The Strand and NYPL

DATE 4/15/2014

Episodes with Wayne Thiebaud

DATE 4/13/2014

Trevor Winkfield

DATE 4/10/2014

'The Sick Rose' Lecture and Book Signing at Morbid Anatomy Library

DATE 4/10/2014

Reading Andy Warhol

DATE 4/9/2014

Show Time: The 50 Most Influential Exhibitions of Contemporary Art

DATE 4/7/2014

Eva Hesse: One More than One

DATE 4/4/2014

Abiding Architecture III: 10 days, 26 People, 4 Projects, 11 Languages and 1 site in Titanyen, Haiti: Us and Them

DATE 4/4/2014

Charles Traub: Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s

DATE 4/2/2014

Martin Creed: What's the Point of It?

DATE 4/2/2014

'Geometric Sociology' in Christoph Gielen: Ciphers

DATE 4/1/2014

Metropolis Live! Susan S. Szenasy to Speak in Boston

DATE 3/31/2014

'Larry Sultan & Mike Mandel: Evidence' eBook Now Available from iTunes

DATE 3/30/2014

Soviets: Drawings by Danzig Baldaev & Photographs by Sergei Vasiliev

DATE 3/28/2014

Richard Serra: Early Work

DATE 3/27/2014

'Emilie Brzezinksi: The Lure of the Forest' Featured on 'Morning Joe'

DATE 3/27/2014

Sarah Jones

DATE 3/25/2014

Derek Ridgers: 78-87 London Youth

DATE 3/22/2014

Philip-Lorca diCorcia

DATE 3/19/2014

Susan S. Szenasy & Debbie Millman to Launch 'Szenasy, Design Advocate' with Conversation at Museum of Arts and Design, NY

DATE 3/18/2014

Xavier Guardans: Windows

DATE 3/18/2014

The King of Kowloon: The Art of Tsang Tsou Choi

DATE 3/17/2014

'Lutz Bacher: Snow' Launch at Greene Naftali

DATE 3/16/2014

Futurism and Dance

DATE 3/14/2014

Favelization: The Imaginary Brazil in Contemporary Film, Fashion and Design

DATE 3/14/2014

Italian Futurism, 1909-1944: Reconstructing the Universe

DATE 3/12/2014

Surrealism and the Dream

DATE 3/10/2014

Robert Heinecken: Object Matter

DATE 3/7/2014

'Maria Lassnig: The Location of Pictures' at ARTBOOK @ MoMA PS1

DATE 3/6/2014

Celebrate 'You Should've Heard Just What I Seen' with DJ set by Matthew Higgs Friday, March 7 at Gavin Brown's Enterprise

DATE 3/5/2014

Join ARTBOOK at The Armory Show, March 6-9

DATE 3/5/2014

Nancy Graves Project & Special Guests

DATE 3/3/2014

Show Time: The 50 Most Influential Exhibitions of Contemporary Art

DATE 3/3/2014

Major Exhibition of Austrian Artist Maria Lassnig’s Work Opens at MoMA PS1 This Sunday, March 9th

DATE 3/2/2014

Visit ARTBOOK @ Collective 2 Design Fair

DATE 2/28/2014

Keiichi Tanaami: Killer Joe's Early Times 1965-73

DATE 2/26/2014

Cuba in Revolution

DATE 2/25/2014

Tom Dixon Presentation & Booksigning February 27 at Twentieth Gallery, Los Angeles

DATE 2/24/2014

Looking East: Western Artists and the Allure of Japan

DATE 2/23/2014

Mostly Sunny, With a Sense of Menace: William Christenberry

DATE 2/21/2014

The Eye of the Storm: Gerhard Richter Catalogue Raisonné, Volume 3

DATE 2/20/2014

It Is Almost That: Ann Hamilton, Jane Hammond & Lisa Pearson, March 5 at the NYPL

DATE 2/20/2014

Aaron Stern: I Woke Up in My Clothes

DATE 2/18/2014

21st-Century Portraits

DATE 2/18/2014

Cape Cod Modern Co-Author Previews Book at Design Within Reach, Boston

DATE 2/15/2014

Edvard Munch: A Genius of Printmaking

DATE 2/14/2014

Anthony McCall Book Launch at Sean Kelly Gallery

DATE 2/14/2014

Marian Bantjes: Pretty Pictures

DATE 2/12/2014

Propaganda! Russian and Norwegian Posters 1920-1939


BOOKS IN THE MEDIA

MARC LOWENTHAL | DATE 10/16/2013

Morals of the Fin de Siècle: Marc Lowenthal on Atlas Press' The Tutu

My first encounter with London's Atlas Press was in the late 1980s, when I was given a copy of David Gascoyne's translation of André Breton and Philippe Soupault's Magnetic Fields. With that book, they immediately became the first publisher I decided to trust blindly, and I've done my best to read everything they've published ever since—which hasn't always been easy, given their on-again, off-again availability in the US. With ARTBOOK | D.A.P. now distributing them this side of the waters, it's a good time to start diving back into their catalog of extremist literature—now a full 30 years' worth of forays into what they call the "anti-tradition" of the more "belligerent avant-gardes" of the last 200 years.


Morals of the Fin de Siècle: Marc Lowenthal on Atlas Press' The Tutu
ABOVE: The finest known copy of the first edition. Photograph courtesy of Pierre Saunier.
Morals of the Fin de Siècle: Marc Lowenthal on Atlas Press' The Tutu
And there really couldn't be a better place to start than their new release of the first English translation of the 1891 French novel, The Tutu, written by the pseudonymous "Princess Sappho" (and translated by Iain White, whose name always graces the most interesting of literary translation projects, from Marcel Schwob to Thomas Owen to Jean Ray). Among other things, The Tutu has introduced me to the fact that there was a name unknown to me in the lineage of such publishing heroes as Eric Losfeld, Barney Rosset, Régine Desforges, and other such frontline defenders of the freedom of speech: their predecessor, the enigmatic Léon Genonceaux. Apart from being the presumed personage behind the Princess Sappho nom de plume, he was also the publisher who properly introduced the work of both the infamous Comte de Lautréamont and Arthur Rimbaud to the French public. Doing so earned him legal headaches and a hefty enough fine for him to leave France before eventually disappearing from literary history altogether after 1905.

His escape from the legal proceedings over his publications also apparently led him to scrap his plans to publish The Tutu: Morals of the Fin de Siècle, just as it was coming off the press. Reading it now makes his decision understandable (even if it leaves the reason as to how the novel has languished unknown for over 100 years, with only five copies currently known to exist, a bit perplexing): The Tutu had obviously been intended to stand as the decadent novel to out-decadent all the decadents. The very pseudonym stood as a nose-tweaking to the censors (even if Genonceaux would quickly retract the tweaking once the legal troubles kicked in), as Sapphism was the theme to bring about the most legal woes upon nineteenth-century French publishers (most famously for Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal). Given that the theme is utterly absent from The Tutu, his desire to provoke by all means necessary seems clear. The novel's broader storyline, however, is actually standard bourgeois fare: a young society man (the fancifully named Mauri de Noirof) finishes his schooling, loses his virginity, seeks marriage, finds a wife, tries to build a career, and eventually finds true love after his wife dies in the midst of an adulterous affair. Our young protagonist, though, is something of a kid brother to Lautréamont's Maldoror. Our hero's true love is his own mother, who finds him a wife after refusing to sleep with him (or allow him to marry a tree); his subsequent wife the obese barrel-shaped Hermine, who consumes auto-mined snot pellets in between endless glasses of Kümmel and Chartreuse; his career the abandoned fabrication of a pneumatic train tunnel; and his own adulterous affair is with a two-headed, four-armed-and-legged carnival performer named Mani-Mini.

All of this is steeped in one of the most extraordinary soups of effluvia this reader has ever encountered: excrement, phlegm, vomit and bodily corruption reach what I'd venture to call poetic heights in these pages (with two particular heights that actually managed to make me gag). The fundament is fundamental here, and perhaps tweaking the notoriously misogynistic philosopher's nose, Genonceaux here utilizes the Schopenhauer so dear to the decadents in the form of Noirof's mother, who utters such memorable phrases as: "The most beautiful of women are only composed, chemically speaking, of the quintessence of faecal matter;" or more broadly: "The soul is no more than the ferment of matter." (A phrase arguably surpassing that of the anticipatory plagiarist Alfred Jarry, who would later write: "The soul is a tic.")

Genonceaux had obviously done more than just publish Lautréamont: he took the poet's baroque excesses to heart and with The Tutu aimed to raise the ante. (A few pages from Maldoror in fact make their way into the novel in the form of Noirof and his mother's favorite reading material, but our hero also pays his own visit to a God as debauched, if somewhat more refined, than that of Lautréamont.) Yet for all that, the novel manages to rise above being mere schoolboy antics: its writing is sharp and often quite humorous, its aims obviously satiric, the characters oddly sympathetic through their repugnance, and the pessimism almost joyous in its excesses. The book is also remarkably modern for something that was to have been published in 1891, with dialogue and narrative devices that evoked Raymond Queneau to me more than J.-K. Huysmans. (In fact, if I was to describe the novel in one sentence, it would be "Maldoror as written by Raymond Queneau.")

When I first read about this book's forthcoming publication, it had almost sounded like a literary artifact that Atlas Press would have had to invent if it hadn't existed. Now that I've read it, it still seems too good to be true: the missing, unknown link between the French fin-de-siècle and Alfred Jarry's Ubu roi and all that was to follow. This is one wild, fermented read, and deserving of attention from finer readers this fall. It has been released alongside Atlas Press' other fall title, Winter Journeys: an Oulipian collection of tales concerning the unknown Hugo Vernier—the missing-link French author who was plagiarized by everyone from Baudelaire on—who in retrospect makes for an interesting fictional colleague for Genonceaux this season.
Morals of the Fin de Siècle: Marc Lowenthal on Atlas Press' The Tutu
Morals of the Fin de Siècle: Marc Lowenthal on Atlas Press' The Tutu
Morals of the Fin de Siècle: Marc Lowenthal on Atlas Press' The Tutu
Morals of the Fin de Siècle: Marc Lowenthal on Atlas Press' The Tutu
Morals of the Fin de Siècle: Marc Lowenthal on Atlas Press' The Tutu
Morals of the Fin de Siècle: Marc Lowenthal on Atlas Press' The Tutu

Morals of the Fin de Siècle: Marc Lowenthal on Atlas Press' The TutuBoston based Marc Lowenthal is founder and publisher of Wakefield Press, an independent publishing house "devoted to the translation of overlooked gems and literary oddities" such as Pierre Louÿs' The Young Girl's Handbook of Good Manners for Use in Educational Establishments, René Daumal's Pataphysical Essays and Pierre Mac Orlan's Handbook for the Perfect Adventurer.

The Tutu

The Tutu

ATLAS PRESS
Hbk, 6.75 x 7.5 in. / 176 pgs / illustrated throughout.

$25.00  free shipping

Mariana Cook: Justice

DATE: 3/11/2013

Eve Blossom Press Update

DATE: 10/18/2011

Ai Weiwei: Fairytale

DATE: 6/20/2011



ARTBOOK LOGO
 
 

the artworld's favorite source for books on art and culture

  

CUSTOMER SERVICE
orders@artbook.com
212 627 1999
M-F 9-5 EST

TRADE ACCOUNTS

800 338 2665

CONTACT

JOBS + INTERNSHIPS

NEW YORK
Showroom by Appointment Only
155 Sixth Avenue
New York NY 10013
Tel   212 627 1999

LOS ANGELES
Showroom by Appointment Only
818 Broadway
Los Angeles CA 90812
Tel   213 888 7957

ARTBOOK LLC
D.A.P. | Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.


All site content Copyright C 2000-2013 by Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. and the respective publishers, authors, artists. For reproduction permissions, contact the copyright holders.

ARTBOOK AMPERSAT

The D.A.P. Catalog
www.artbook.com