BlurbWith the very first word of his famous play Ubu Roi--"Shite!"--Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) threw down his challenge to literature, permanently altering its course thereafter. Jarry's equally revolutionary novels form the cornerstones of a science he named "Pataphysics," a method for the rational disordering of rationality that has influenced countless subsequent artists and writers, from Marcel Duchamp to Wim Delvoye, André Breton to J.G. Ballard. The Supermale elaborates a carnal Pataphysics: André Marcueil, gentleman and scientist, believes that human energy has no limits, and demonstrates his belief by undertaking a 10,000-mile bicycle race with a locomotive, followed by an indefinite bout of lovemaking. After 82 acts of intercourse, doctors finally hook him up to a machine, with whom he merges in the book's--and the Supermale's--final climax. Like a mock Jules Verne, Jarry describes these deranged proceedings in a calm prose, crisply rendered here by Barbara Wright, one of French literature's finest translators.
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