Supermale

Mischa Twitchin reads Supermale by Alfred Jarry
The Supermale by Alfred Jarry, first published in French in 1902 is a disturbing yet hilarious vision of the future (the 1920′s!) . Jarry most famous for his uproarious play Ubu Roi here combines fin-de-siecle love of posing – the desire to shock the bourgeoisie – with Gargantuan sexual excess, in a short novel whose black humour in many ways anticipates the Surrealists and such disparate writers as Queneau and Genet.
In her introduction, the translator Barbara Wright states: ‘The essence of the Supermale is that he goes beyond everything hitherto imaginable’ Jarry inherited this credo of exploring the limits of human sensations from the ‘Decadents’ of the 1890′s but transformed it into his own philosophy of ‘Pataphysics’ – an attempt to create a new system of values out of the nihilism of the Ubu plays.
The Supermale is obsessed with the potentialities of man and what he considers to be his limitations: with the idea of extending frontiers, pushing the possible to the limits of the imaginable, discovering what might be done by will power to liberate and control the energy of the universe.
But Jarry has by no means written a philosophical tract. Choosing to test man’s potential in the sexual arena, Jarry has created a remarkable piece of bittersweet erotica, comic in its wit and deliberate pretensions, and poignant in the Supermale’s conclusion:
Assidious lovemaking leaves no time to experience love.

jarry

Mischa Twitchin reads Supermale by Alfred Jarry.

The Supermale by Alfred Jarry, first published in French in 1902 is a disturbing yet hilarious vision of the future (the 1920′s!) . Jarry most famous for his uproarious play Ubu Roi here combines fin-de-siecle love of posing – the desire to shock the bourgeoisie – with Gargantuan sexual excess, in a short novel whose black humour in many ways anticipates the Surrealists and such disparate writers as Queneau and Genet.

In her introduction, the translator Barbara Wright states: ‘The essence of the Supermale is that he goes beyond everything hitherto imaginable’ Jarry inherited this credo of exploring the limits of human sensations from the ‘Decadents’ of the 1890′s but transformed it into his own philosophy of ‘Pataphysics’ – an attempt to create a new system of values out of the nihilism of the Ubu plays.

The Supermale is obsessed with the potentialities of man and what he considers to be his limitations: with the idea of extending frontiers, pushing the possible to the limits of the imaginable, discovering what might be done by will power to liberate and control the energy of the universe.

But Jarry has by no means written a philosophical tract. Choosing to test man’s potential in the sexual arena, Jarry has created a remarkable piece of bittersweet erotica, comic in its wit and deliberate pretensions, and poignant in the Supermale’s conclusion:

Assidious lovemaking leaves no time to experience love.

The recording of this show is available on request.

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