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Pataphysics: The Poetics of an Imaginary Science

Pataphysics: The Poetics of an Imaginary Science (Hardback)

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A critical look at the historical and cultural implications of Alfred Jarry's pseudoscience, pataphysics 'Pataphysics, what Alfred Jarry calls "the science of imaginary solutions," has until now gone largely ignored by literary scholars, due in part to its academic frivolity and hermetic perversity. Nevertheless, this capricious philosophy has inspired nearly one hundred years of avant-garde experimentation. Christian Bok redresses this critical omission by tracing the tangled history of pataphysics, discussing the tension between science and poetics, in order to demonstrate that pataphysics constitutes an intrinsic, but neglected, cornerstone of postmodernity itself. Bok examines the work of Jarry, arguing that it represents a humorous addendum to the philosophy of Nietzsche, while also considering the influence of 'pataphysics upon the poetic legacy of the twentieth century, particularly the work of Italian Futurists, French Oulipians, and Canadian Jarryites. Bok resorts to the radical poetics of such contemporary philosophers as Delauze, Derrida, Baudrillard, and Serres in order to explicate the 'pataphysical relationship between rationalism and its discontents.

Bok draws on a wide range of reading in poetry and theory to establish a firm historical ground for understanding the influence of 'pataphysics - all the while making a variety of seemingly difficult or obscure material accessible in a surprisingly charming and poetic manner. A long overdue critical look at a significant strain of the twentieth-century avant-garde, his book raises important historical, cultural, and theoretical issues germane to the production and reception of poetry, how we think about it, how we write it, how we read it, and what sorts of claims it makes upon our understanding.

Essays & WritingLiterary CriticismLiterary studies: generalLiterary studies: from c 1900 -Essays & WritingLiterary CriticismLiterary studies: poetry & poetsPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesCultural StudiesPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesWestern philosophyWestern philosophy, from c 1900 - Publisher: Northwestern University Press Publication Date: 31/08/2001 ISBN-13: 9780810118768  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Christian Bok is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Fellow affiliated with the Poetics Program at SUNY-Buffalo. Bok is the author of Crystallography: Book I of Information Theory, a nominee for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award given for best poetic debut. He has published numerous articles on Canadian avant-garde poetry in Open Letter, Canadian Literature, and Studies in Canadian Literature, and his own experimental poetry has been frequently anthologized, appearing most recently in Imagining Language."

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