The subject of this unique book of short fiction is masturbation, a practice both universal and virtually taboo. In sixty-one vignettes, Mathews records the imaginative varieties of this solitary activity in prose that is playful, intimate, urgent, quirky, and humane.
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Born in New York in 1930, Harry Mathews settled in Europe in 1952 and has since then lived in Spain, Germany, Italy, and (chiefly) France. When Mathews published his first poems in 1956, he was associated with the so-called New York School of poets, with three of whom (John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler) he founded the review Locus Solus in 1961. Through his friendship with Georges Perec, he became a member of the Oulipo in 1972. The author of six novels and several collections of poetry, recent publications are THE NEW TOURISM (Sand Paper Press, 2010), Sainte Catherine, a novella written in French (Editions P.O.L, 2000), The Human Country: the Collected Short Stories (Dalkey Archive Press, 2002), The Case of the Persevering Maltese: Collected Essays (Dalkey Archive Press, 2003), OULIPO COMPENDIUM (co-edited with Alastair Brotchie; Atlas Press and Make Now Press, 2005), and My Life in CIA: A Chronicle of 1973 (Dalkey Archive Press, 2005).Review:
"Harry Mathews is a playful, precise writer, a modernist with a singular sense of humor, a stylist whose subject matter often seems irrelevant next to the beauty of his language." -- Michael Perkins 4-16-93
"Quietly, with gentle and all-embracing humanism, these prose poems refute the taboos. . . . [A]s a literary device the focus on that singular moment inspires Mathews to bravura feats of compression. It's a moment when a person is at their most, let's say, naked and exposed, most transported and yet transfixed, in touch with their organic urges but at the same time off in their defining desires, traumas, hopes and dreams." -- New York Press April 28-May 4 93
"Singular Pleasures is wonderfully shocking and a joy to read, and gives a new meaning to 'reading for pleasure.'" -- Cups 9-93
"Some of the vignettes are silly, some exotic, some satiric, some erotic, most poetic, some neutral, and some . . . touchingly lovely." -- Kirkus Reviews 3-1-93
"There is nothing pornographic, in the strict sense, about Mathews' text, since it does not seek to arouse the reader: its tone is cool, humorous, and affectionate. His intention is to leave us deeply impressed by the ingenuity, tenacity, and inventiveness with which humans in all places and at all ages have pursued their own pleasure. He succeeds completely." -- Artforum Summer 93
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Book Description Dalkey Archive Press, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111564780244
Book Description Dalkey Archive Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1564780244 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1599072