Oz Bizarre: Barry Humphries
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In 1965 he compiled and published Bizarre, a collection of off-center, decadent and erotic texts and images, for Elek Books. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Many of the texts are impossible to find (or too costly to bother) elsewhere. Many will find it similar to - and more entertaining (and certainly less expensive) than - the Atlas Press expansion of Remy de Gourmont's Book of Masks.
Here is Humphries discussing his bibliophilia and favorite novels:
Will look out for a copy of Bizarre - the Atlas Press edition of the Book of Masks is one of my favorites.
I bought a copy of Bizarre last year at a book sale hosted by the branch of the public library by my parents' house (where I spent my formative years instead of playing sports or having friends). I made the decision for purchase based on nothing better than recognizing the compiler's name. It's entirely possible never even looked inside the book except to figure out how to tag in for myself in LT. Now I'm motivated to make better.
I notice that Humphries' Bizarre is subtitled "With material taken from Bizarre . . and other sources" What does that refer to?
It is good to be acquainted with this Pauvert:
I'm going to have to review Sade, again. (For the countless time?)
The other Bizarre, by John Willie, seemed unlikely, but not impossible!
Writers from the table of contents: Huysmans, Stefan George, Masoch, Satie, Machen, Schwob, Mirbeau, Beddoes, Saltus, Shiel, Verlaine, Corvo, Jepson, Gawsworth, Jarry and Lafcadio Hearn - and that's just the ones I've heard of. Outsize, copiously illustrated in black and white.
Humphries says ". .there are photographs and merry japes galore, for this is essentially a family book, and one which we confidently expect will stand on every shelf between Pears Encylopaedia and Mrs Beeton." Mine will go between The Book of Masks and Breton's Anthology of Black Humor
Last time I looked at the Amazon reviews for the Anthology of Black Humor there were lots of aggrieved punters complaining that there weren't enough gags in it. That's not really the point, of course, but it's a great selection of short texts by Breton's favorite writers.
That's interesting, because when I espied it, it was safely hidden on the "Humour" shelves. A quick look convinced me that it would be more ideally located in the "Literature" section. I assumed that it would be waiting for me amidst the Diberts and Seinfelds until I returned. Alas, I was wrong.
The obligatory emoticon follows -
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