I have kept my love for Roussel as something gratuitous, and I prefer it that way. . . . it s my secret affair. You know, [Roussel s work] was my love for several summers . . . no one knew it. --Michel Foucault
[P]resident of the republic of dreams. --Louis Aragon
The long-awaited new translation of the most dazzling and unclassifiable work of fiction in any language.In a mythical African land, some shipwrecked and uniquely talented passengers stage a grand gala to entertain themselves and their captor, the great chieftain Talou. In performance after bizarre performance—starring, among others, a zither-playing worm, a marksman who can peel an egg at fifty yards, a railway car that rolls on calves’ lungs, and fabulous machines that paint, weave, and compose music—Raymond Roussel demonstrates why it is that Andre? Breton termed him “the greatest mesmerizer of modern times.” But even more remarkable than the mind-bending events Roussel details—as well as their outlandish, touching, or tawdry backstories—is the principle behind the novel’s genesis, a complex system of puns and double-entendres that anticipated (and helped inspire) such movements as Surrealism and Oulipo. Newly translated and with an introduction by Mark Polizzotti, this edition of Impressions of Africa vividly restores the humor, linguistic legerdemain, and conceptual wonder of Raymond Roussel’s magnum opus.