Locus Solus

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Locus Solus
Author Raymond Roussel
Country France
Language French
Genre Novel
Publication date
1914
Media type Print
ISBN 978-1-84749-071-1
OCLC 226976066

Locus Solus is a 1914 French novel by Raymond Roussel.

Plot summary[edit]

John Ashbery summarizes Locus Solus thus in his introduction to Michel Foucault's Death and the Labyrinth: "A prominent scientist and inventor, Martial Canterel, has invited a group of colleagues to visit the park of his country estate, Locus Solus. As the group tours the estate, Canterel shows them inventions of ever-increasing complexity and strangeness. Again, exposition is invariably followed by explanation, the cold hysteria of the former giving way to the innumerable ramifications of the latter. After an aerial pile driver which is constructing a mosaic of teeth and a huge glass diamond filled with water in which float a dancing girl, a hairless cat named Khóng-dek-lèn, and the preserved head of Danton, we come to the central and longest passage: a description of eight curious tableaux vivants taking place inside an enormous glass cage. We learn that the actors are actually dead people whom Canterel has revived with 'resurrectine', a fluid of his invention which if injected into a fresh corpse causes it continually to act out the most important incident of its life."

As well as Czech, Dutch, Italian, Polish, Turkish, Russian, Spanish and other[1] translations, there have been three English translations of the work in question, published by the University of California Press (Berkeley) (1970), Calder and Boyers (London) (1970) and Calder (2008), and all based on Rupert Copeland Cunningham's scholarship and transcription.

References in other media[edit]

  • The main antagonist of the anime film Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence takes its name from this book. Also in the film, Section 9 members Batou and Togusa go to the North to question a mercenary hacker named Kim who lives in an elaborate mansion filled with odd mechanical and sensory art – as is also described in the book. Togusa looks through a peephole in a model of the mansion. On looking down at it, Togusa sees tableaux vivants of himself and Batou, and continually views different possible memories and futures that are the result of entering the mansion. The peephole is also taken from the novel's eight tableaux vivants.
  • In Wild ARMs 5 (aka Wild ARMs the Vth Vanguard) for PlayStation 2, Locus Solus is the name of the mothership used by the Veruni to escape from Filgaia (Earth). When crashed into Filgaia 12.000 years later, it was considered a sacred land for the Veruni.
  • Musician John Zorn named a band and album after Locus Solus, creating improvised avant-garde jazz/rock.
  • In his Brion Cemetery project at San Vito d'Altivole, architect Carlo Scarpa frequently refers to Locus Solus, Roussel being one of his favourite authors.
  • Electronic music artist Richard Knott named one of his songs "Locus Solus", which became his breakout hit in 2012 when Eric Prydz's Pryda Friends record label signed it.
  • DJ Harvey has recorded under the name Locussolus.

English Translations[edit]

  • Raymond Roussel: Locus Solus: London: Calder and Boyar: 1970. (Translator: Rupert Copeland Cunningham). Reprinted in 1983.
  • Raymond Roussel: Locus Solus: Berkeley: University of California: 1970. (Translator: Rupert Copeland Cunningham).
  • Raymond Roussel: Locus Solus: London: Calder: 2008. Reprint of Calder and Boyars/University of California translation.

References[edit]

External links[edit]