Pataphysics: The Poetics of an Imaginary Science (Avant-Garde & Modernism Studies)

Christian Bok

Published by Northwestern University Press, 2001
ISBN 10: 0810118769 / ISBN 13: 9780810118768
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Synopsis: A critical look at the historical and cultural implications of Alfred Jarry's pseudoscience, pataphysics 'Pataphysics, what Alfred Jarry calls "the science of imaginary solutions," has until now gone largely ignored by literary scholars, due in part to its academic frivolity and hermetic perversity. Nevertheless, this capricious philosophy has inspired nearly one hundred years of avant-garde experimentation. Christian Bok redresses this critical omission by tracing the tangled history of pataphysics, discussing the tension between science and poetics, in order to demonstrate that pataphysics constitutes an intrinsic, but neglected, cornerstone of postmodernity itself. Bok examines the work of Jarry, arguing that it represents a humorous addendum to the philosophy of Nietzsche, while also considering the influence of 'pataphysics upon the poetic legacy of the twentieth century, particularly the work of Italian Futurists, French Oulipians, and Canadian Jarryites. Bok resorts to the radical poetics of such contemporary philosophers as Delauze, Derrida, Baudrillard, and Serres in order to explicate the 'pataphysical relationship between rationalism and its discontents. Bok draws on a wide range of reading in poetry and theory to establish a firm historical ground for understanding the influence of 'pataphysics - all the while making a variety of seemingly difficult or obscure material accessible in a surprisingly charming and poetic manner. A long overdue critical look at a significant strain of the twentieth-century avant-garde, his book raises important historical, cultural, and theoretical issues germane to the production and reception of poetry, how we think about it, how we write it, how we read it, and what sorts of claims it makes upon our understanding.

From the Back Cover: 'Pataphysics, the pseudoscience imagined by Alfred Jarry, has so far, because of its academic frivolity and hermetic perversity, attracted very little scholarly or critical inquiry, and yet it has inspired a century of experimentation. Tracing the place of 'pataphysics in the tangled history of the relationship between science and poetry, Christian Bök demonstrates that 'pataphysics is fundamental to the nature of the postmodern.
Bök considers the work of Jarry, 'pataphysician, both by itself and as it influenced work by later generations. Discussing 'pataphysics in general and Jarry's work in particular as a ludic counterpart of Nietzschean philosophy, Bök examines the relationship of rule and chance, of science and poetry, of the rational and the surrational. His work draws on a wide range of reading in poetry and theory to establish a firm historical ground for understanding the influence of 'pataphysics, making a variety of seemingly difficult or obscure material accessible in a charming, poetic manner. A long overdue critical look at a significant strain of the twentieth-century avant-garde, 'Pataphysics: The Poetics of an Imaginary Science raises important historical, cultural, and theoretical issues germane to the production and reception of poetry, the ways we think about, write, and read it, and the sorts of claims it makes upon our understanding.

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Title: Pataphysics: The Poetics of an Imaginary ...
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Bok, Christian
Published by Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL (2001)
ISBN 10: 0810118769 ISBN 13: 9780810118768
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Book Description Northwestern University Press, Evanston, IL, 2001. Very Good hardcover in tan boards. Previous store's sticker affixed to rear board. Scattered underlining and maginalia, in pen, as well as highlighting to pages throughout. Overall, an acceptable reading copy. 133 pp. Bookseller Inventory # 2034899

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Bok, Christian
Published by Northwestern University Press 2001-12-26 (2001)
ISBN 10: 0810118769 ISBN 13: 9780810118768
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Book Description Northwestern University Press 2001-12-26, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: mint no marks. As New! Sharp corners, copy crisp and clean. Ships immediately!We are a small, independent brick-and-mortar bookshop dedicated to providing fine used books. Bookseller Inventory # 648

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Bok, Christian
Published by Northwestern University Press, Evanston (2001)
ISBN 10: 0810118769 ISBN 13: 9780810118768
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Book Description Northwestern University Press, Evanston, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: No Dust Jacket. First Edition. Light surface wear. ; Avant-Garde & Modernism Studies; 9.38 X 6.28 X 0.65 inches; 133 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 219644

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ISBN 10: 0810118769 ISBN 13: 9780810118768
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Book Description Northwestern University Press, Evanston, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. No Jacket. First Edition. A critical look at the historical and cultural implications of Alfred Jarry's pseudoscience, pataphysics. What Alfred Jarry calls "the science of imaginary solutions," has until now gone largely ignored by literary scholars, due in part to its academic frivolity and hermetic perversity. Nevertheless, this capricious philosophy has inspired nearly one hundred years of avant-garde experimentation. Christian Bok redresses this critical omission by tracing the tangled history of pataphysics, discussing the tension between science and poetics, in order to demonstrate that pataphysics constitutes an intrinsic, but neglected, cornerstone of postmodernity itself. Bok examines the work of Jarry, arguing that it represents a humorous addendum to the philosophy of Nietzsche, while also considering the influence of 'pataphysics upon the poetic legacy of the twentieth century, particularly the work of Italian Futurists, French Oulipians, and Canadian Jarryites. Bok resorts to the radical poetics of such contemporary philosophers as Delauze, Derrida, Baudrillard, and Serres in order to explicate the 'pataphysical relationship between rationalism and its discontents. Bok draws on a wide range of reading in poetry and theory to establish a firm historical ground for understanding the influence of pataphysics - all the while making a variety of seemingly difficult or obscure material accessible in a surprisingly charming and poetic manner. A long overdue critical look at a significant strain of the twentieth-century avant-garde, his book raises important historical, cultural, and theoretical issues germane to the production and reception of poetry, how we think about it, how we write it, how we read it, and what sorts of claims it makes upon our understanding. Alfred Jarry (September 8, 1873 - November 1, 1907) was a French writer born in Laval, Mayenne, France, not far from the border of Brittany; he was of Breton descent on his mother's side. Best known for his play Ubu Roi (1896), which is often cited as a forerunner to the surrealist theatre of the 1920s and 1930s, Jarry wrote in a variety of genres and styles. He wrote plays, novels, poetry, essays and speculative journalism. His texts present some pioneering work in the field of absurdist literature. Sometimes grotesque or misunderstood (i.e. the opening line in his play Ubu Roi, "Merdre!", has been translated into English as "Shittr!", "Shikt!", and "Pschitt!"), he invented a science called 'pataphysics. No Jacket, as Issued. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 037826

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