Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician
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Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician (original title in French: Gestes et opinions du docteur Faustroll pataphysicien : Roman néo-scientifique suivi de Spéculations). A novel by French symbolist author Alfred Jarry which influenced surrealism, it features Doctor Faustroll (an allusion to Doctor Faustus), a scientist who is born in 1898 in Circassia at the age of 63, and who dies the same year at the same age.
The novel was first published posthumously in 1911 by Fasquelle. A paperback edition was published by Arléa (Arléa-Poche) in 2007, on the centenary of Jarry's death.
One of Jarry’s pataphysical works, the novel relates the adventures of Dr Faustroll and his companion, a lawyer named Panmuphle, on their travels in a copper skiff that carries them on the River Seine from point to point through the neighborhoods and buildings of Paris. Written in the first person by Panmuphle, who rows their boat, it describes the fantastic islands that they visit. The pair are accompanied by a baboon named Bosse-de-Nage who perishes along the way, and Panmuphle begins to wonder if he had imagined him or whether he had been real. Bosse-de-Nage speaks intermittently during their adventures, always uttering only two syllables: "Ha-Ha."
At the end of the novel Dr Faustroll dies, and he sends a telepathic letter to Lord Kelvin describing the afterlife and the cosmos. The symbolism of the novel has imagination and language overriding the reality of the French capital, and the story is wryly comic and surrealistic in nature. The novel concludes with the line (in italics): "La Pataphysique est la science..."
Jarry wrote of the novel: "This book will not be published in full until the author has acquired enough experience to savour all its beauties." ("Ce livre ne sera publié intégralement que quand l'auteur aura acquis assez d'experience pour en savourer toutes les beautés.") It was indeed published only after Jarry's death in 1907, as with Faustroll's posthumous letter to Lord Kelvin.
As part of a general influence by dadaist literature, musician Gregory Scharpen, as part of his Thomas Carnacki project, released the Oar of Panmuphle album with the title referencing Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician.
- "Gregory Scharpen On Outsight Radio Hours". Archive.org. Retrieved July 7, 2013.
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