Raymond Roussel


Illustrated by Numa and Chazot, translated by Harry Mathews, introduced by Alastair Brotchie.

“Things, words, vision and death, the sun and language make a unique form… Roussel in some way has defined its geometry.” — Michel Foucault

The works of Raymond Roussel remain among the most enigmatic in the whole of French Literature. He published two plays in his lifetime, and this is the second of them… but are they really plays at all? In the words of John Ashbery:

“Both of the published plays are collections of anecdotes … There is, of course, no more attempt at plot or characterisation than in the novels. And yet the plays are theatrical in a curious way. The anecdotes cast on the characters who tell them an unearthly glimmer that is like a new kind of characterisation. And these stories, cut up and distributed among the speakers, somehow propel us breathlessly forward. The plays are among the strangest and most enchanting in modern literature.”

Roussel’s works were hailed as significant by writers with a wide range of different associations, including Surrealism, the noveau roman, and the Oulipo. The superb translation of the present work is by the American novelist and poet Harry Mathews, a long-term member of the Oulipo.

Atlas Eclectics & Heteroclites 12.


2011, ISBN: 978-1-900565-56-1, 160pp, paperback.
SKU: 978-1-900565-56-1 Categories: ,

Additional information

Weight .25 kg
Dimensions 15 × 17 cm