Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Some additions to the ububibliothèque

I treated myself to some books for new year. My package just arrived. It feels exhilarating to open up a box and tear away the packaging paper to discover books I have searched for for quite a while!

Above all there's a beautiful box named 'Cabinet de curiosités', about which I had read in the publication of the Collège de 'Pataphysique. Basically it's reminding of the Renaissance curiosity cabinets, which you can open to discover four cardboard shelves. Disposed in the shelves are no less than 20 little booklets, with strange titles like 'galerie d'art viral', Index des rues qui n'existent pas', 'Codex de miracles publicitaires'…
Published by Editions Tana in 2009.

Teddy Legrand: "Les sept têtes du dragon vert", M.C.O.R. editions 2007
This book was long sought after until it was republished by this small editor. On one hand it's a spy novel taking place during the first world war, with many characters who really existed in Germany and Russia; on the other the author seems to know the esoteric underworld of this era: from Papus to Gurdjieff, from secret societies to satanic individuals.
Read more (in French):

"Bibliothèque Oulipienne" Volume 4 & 5, Le Castor Astral 1997 & 2000
I already had the first three volumes published by Seghers and Ramsay. Since 1974 the members of Oulipo have regularly published on a very small scale (about 40 copies) little volumes of their work. Every volume deals with a 'contrainte' and as the rule of Oulipo goes, a constraint should be explained in a text using this constraint. Since then, the little booklets have been bundled in larger volumes of about 300 pages each for a larger public.

Oulipo: "Pièces détachées", Mille et une nuits 2007
A small compendium of oulipian constraints.

Thierri Foulc: "Le cercle des pataphysiciens", Mille et une nuits 2008
Mille et une nuits is a great publisher; the books in this collection are all pockets, beautifully printed yet all are quite cheap. These are volumes number 544 and 535.

Pascal Varejka: "Singularité de l'éléphant d'Europe", Ginkgo 2007
Everybody knows the African and Asian elephants. Pascal Varejka, Regent of Elephantology in the Collège, studies the European version. A book with many illustrations of how Europeans through history saw the elephant. Beautiful cover illustration by Olivier O. Olivier.
Reminds me of how the symbol of an elephant in chinese became to mean symbol itself. As the only elephants ever seen in ancient times in China were dead ones, and seeing one laying down makes one dream about something that big standing up or even walking about, it became to mean that which stands for something else, which we westerners call a metaphor.

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