UVic Libraries get 'pataphysical'

UVic Special Collections has acquired a rare complete set of the Collège de 'Pataphysique periodicals from 1950 to 1965.

This collection consists of 56 publications and includes writings-many otherwise unpublished-by leading artists including Alfred Jarry, Paul Val&e#180;ry, Andr&e#180; Gide, Erik Satie and Eugène Ionesco. The publications also include many drawings, inserted cards and ephemera. UVic's collection is likely the only complete set in North America, and even in France one can consult this periodical collection in its entirety only at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

Pataphysics, the "science of sciences" and the "science of imaginary solutions," was created at the turn of the 19th century by Alfred Jarry, author of the Ubu dramatic saga. Under the influence of famous artists of the time, a group of writers-all admirers of Jarry-founded the Collège de 'Pataphysique as a parallel movement to surrealism.

Between April 1950 and June 1965, the college published a quarterly review with a modest run of only a few hundred copies, never exceeding 1,000 and available primarily by subscription.

"The primary beneficiaries of this treasure will not only be French studies researchers, but also musicologists, art critics, historians and philosophers," says Dr. Marc Lapprand (French), who assisted with the acquisition. Lapprand is a leading scholar of the work and life of Boris Vian, French writer, musician, critic, actor, inventor and engineer, best known today for his novels. Vian figures prominently in the Collège de 'Pataphysique publications.

The "Collège de 'Pataphysique" periodicals will be on display in December in Special Collections in the basement of the McPherson Library.

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Keywords: UVic Special Collections

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