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Pataphysics: A Useless Guide: Book by Andrew Hugill

Pataphysics: A Useless Guide

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ISBN: 9780262527569    Publisher: MIT Press Ltd Year of publishing: 2015     Format:  Paperback No of Pages: 296        Language: English
Of all the French cultural exports over the last 150 years or so, 'pataphysics--the science of imaginary solutions and the laws governing exceptions--has proven to be one of the most durable. Originating...Read more
Of all the French cultural exports over the last 150 years or so, 'pataphysics--the science of imaginary solutions and the laws governing exceptions--has proven to be one of the most durable. Originating in the wild imagination of French poet and playwright Alfred Jarry and his schoolmates, resisting clear definition, purposefully useless, and almost impossible to understand, 'pataphysics nevertheless lies around the roots of Absurdism, Dada, futurism, surrealism, situationism, and other key cultural developments of the twentieth century. In this account of the evolution and influence of 'pataphysics, Andrew Hugill offers an informed exposition of a rich and difficult territory, staying aloft on a tightrope stretched between the twin dangers of oversimplifying a serious subject and taking a joke too seriously. Drawing on more than twenty-five years' research, Hugill maps the 'pataphysical presence (partly conscious and acknowledged but largely unconscious and unacknowledged) in literature, theater, music, the visual arts, and the culture at large, and even detects 'pataphysical influence in the social sciences and the sciences.
He offers many substantial excerpts (in English translation) from primary sources, intercalated with a thorough explication of key themes and events of 'pataphysical history. In a Jarryesque touch, he provides these in reverse chronological order, beginning with a survey of 'pataphysics in the digital age and working backward to Jarry and beyond. He looks specifically at the work of Jean Baudrillard, Georges Perec, Italo Calvino, J. G. Ballard, Asger Jorn, Gilles Deleuze, Roger Shattuck, Jacques Prevert, Antonin Artaud, Rene Clair, the Marx Brothers, Joan Miro, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, James Joyce, Flann O'Brien, Raymond Roussel, Jean-Pierre Brisset, and many others.
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About the author: Andrew Hugill
Andrew Hugill is a Professor at De Montfort University, England. He is also a Commandeur Requis of the Ordre de la Grande Guidouille in the College... Read more
Andrew Hugill is a Professor at De Montfort University, England. He is also a Commandeur Requis of the Ordre de la Grande Guidouille in the College de 'Pataphysique.
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Review:
Hugill has written an essential, sharp book on this vital subject. He has a brisk style that gives the book pace and punch. It is authoritative and full of wonders. He gives the geography of the...Read more
Hugill has written an essential, sharp book on this vital subject. He has a brisk style that gives the book pace and punch. It is authoritative and full of wonders. He gives the geography of the movement and maps out the exhilaration of uselessness. -- Richard Marshall 3:AM Magazine Andrew Hugill, professor at De Montfort University and, equally important, Commandeur Requis of the Ordre de la Grand Gidouille in the College de 'Pataphysique, has in well under three hundred pages traced the lineaments of a science which, like a particle in quantum mechanics, fundamentally resists accurate measurement. He describes a field known for its wordplay and willful obfuscation with clear language, an admirable breadth of reference, and an abiding respect for the complexity and, well, willfull obfuscation of his subject. -- Andrew Hultkrans Bookforum From the Theatre of the Absurd through to modern art, literature, music, even postmodern philosophy, pataphysics has been one of the driving forces of the avant-garde for more than a century. Hugill's self-deprecating study provides us with not only an intellectual history of this fascinating but elusive community but also, and no less importantly, proffers valuable clues as to the nature of the creativity of the attitudes and tenets of its members. Times Higher Education
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