NOVELS AND SHORT STORIES BY AUTHOR

PUBLISHER
Wakefield Press

BOOK FORMAT
Paperback, 6 x 9 in. / 257 pgs / 16 bw.

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Pub Date
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D.A.P. Exclusive
Catalog: FALL 2012 p. 62   

PRODUCT DETAILS
ISBN 9780984115594 TRADE
List Price: $17.95 CDN $24.95 GBP £14.99

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In stock

“The serene and gentle amazement with which the author tells of the strange natural laws of other worlds, the great cosmic works undertaken there, and the naively noble conversations of their inhabitants makes him one of those humorists who, like Lichtenberg or Jean Paul, seem never to forget that the earth is a heavenly body.”

— Walter Benjamin

  

WAKEFIELD PRESS

Lesabéndio

An Asteroid Novel

By Paul Scheerbart.

Lesabéndio

“The serene and gentle amazement with which [Scheerbart] tells of the strange natural laws of other worlds . . . makes him one of those humorists who, like Lichtenberg or Jean Paul, seem never to forget that the earth is a heavenly body.” —Walter Benjamin

First published in German in 1913 and widely considered to be Paul Scheerbart’s masterpiece, Lesabéndio is an intergalactic utopian novel that describes life on the planetoid Pallas, where rubbery suction-footed life forms with telescopic eyes smoke bubble-weed in mushroom meadows under violet skies and green stars. Amid the conveyor-belt highways and lighthouses weaving together the mountains and valleys, a visionary named Lesabéndio hatches a plan to build a 44-mile-high tower and employ architecture to connect the two halves of their double star. A cosmic ecological fable, Scheerbart’s novel was admired by such architects as Bruno Taut and Walter Gropius, and such thinkers as Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem (whose wedding present to Benjamin was a copy of Lesabéndio). Benjamin had intended to devote the concluding section of his lost manuscript “The True Politician” with a discussion of the positive political possibilities embedded in Scheerbart’s “Asteroid Novel.” As translator Christina Svendsen writes in her introduction, “Lesabéndio helps us imagine an ecological politics more daring than the conservative politics of preservation, even as it reminds us that we are part of a larger galactic set of interrelationships.” This volume includes Alfred Kubin’s illustrations from the original German edition.
Paul Scheerbart (1863–1915) was a novelist, playwright, poet, newspaper critic, draftsman, visionary, proponent of glass architecture and would-be inventor of perpetual motion, who wrote fantastical fables and interplanetary satires that were to influence Expressionist authors and the German Dada movement, and which helped found German science fiction.


Featured image is reproduced from Lesabéndio.

PRAISE AND REVIEWS

LA Review of Books

Erik Morse

Lesabéndio is an essential text and Scheerbart is a prophet in need of disinterment.

Choice

Christina Svedsen

A long-neglected German proto-Dadist, Scheerbart (1863-1915) has been rediscovered recently in Euro-American art and literary circles. This handsome edition of his Lesabendio is the latest sign of this recovery. The novel was first published in 1913, near the end of Scheerbart's life, is the most celebrated of his science fictions. Over 25 years, Scheerbart had published fantastic novels and stories with astral, orientalist, and political settings; newspaper sketches; poetry, including the very first sound poem; theatre pieces; and quirky tracts on architecture, politics, and science. He was one of the great early modernist stylists; if the prose of the novels is generally less radical than his major nonfictions previously translated into English-- Glass Architecture, The Perpetual Motion Machine, Aerial Militarism-- it nevertheless always sparkles. Svendsen's translation does this novel justice. Mostly, though, the luxurious flights of fancy are what captivate readers in this thought-provoking, gently satirical tale of life on the asteriod Pallas, starring a visionary (Lesabendio) whose technological and spiritual ambitions set in motion momentous changes for his fellow Pallasians. The original edition contained illustrations by the expressionist Alfred Kubin, which Scheerbart disliked; they are reproduced here, but in an appendix, a tactful editorial decision.

Huffington Post

Katherine Brooks

Written in 1913, Lesabéndio is equal parts philosophy and science fiction that mines an eternal debate: what is more valuable, construction in the name of science or creation in the name of art? For those pondering a professional future beyond their humanities educations, Scheerbart weighs the importance of technical discovery, aesthetic progress, and collaboration between artists and scientists. Bonus: Lesabéndio is one of the most original alien characters out there.

New York Public Library

Ian Baran

Wakefield provides us with another top notch translation... An electrifying read.

Lesabéndio

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FROM THE BOOK
"A long-neglected German proto-Dadaist, Scheerbart (1863-1915) has been rediscovered recently in Euro-American art and literary circles. This handsome edition of his Lesabéndio is the latest sign of this recovery. The novel was first published in 1913, near the end of Scheerbart's life, and is the most celebrated of his science fictions. Over 25 years, Scheerbart had published fantastic novels and stories with astral, orientalist, and political settings; newspaper sketches; poetry, including the very first sound poem; theater pieces; and quirky tracts on architecture, politics, and science. He was one of the great early modernist stylists; if the prose of the novels is generally less radical than in his major nonfictions previously translated into English--Glass Architecture, The Perpetual Motion Machine, Aerial Militarism--it nevertheless always sparkles. Svendsen's translation does this novel justice. Mostly, though, the luxurious flights of fancy are what captivate readers in this thought-provoking, gently satirical tale of life on the asteroid Pallas, starring a visionary (Lesabéndio) whose technological and spiritual ambitions set in motion momentous changes for his fellow Pallasians. The original edition contained illustrations by the expressionist Alfred Kubin, which Scheerbart disliked; they are reproduced here, but in an appendix, a tactful editorial decision. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. -- M. Kasper, Amherst College, for Choice Magazine, March 2013
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