[ excerpt ]
||cake & prostheses
mini dramas and short prose
by Gerhard Rühm
translated from the German by Alexander Booth
Recipient of the Austrian State Prize in 1991 and the America Award in Literature in 2022
An inveterate experimenter with image and text and music whose work bears noticeable influences of Dada, Surrealism, Expressionism, and absurdism, Gerhard Rühm is truly one of the
major figures of the postwar European avant-garde. Yet reprehensibly little of his work has appeared in English. This edition brings together a selection of his work spanning
the past seven decades, displaying a wide thematic range (“there is nothing that cannot become part of one’s poetic universe”) and ingenious combinations of motifs such as
music, pornography, banality, humor, and mythology. The first section comprises “mini dramas,” the text often combined with images and musical notation to create sensorial
episodes, the expression of a singularly sensual aesthetic perception. The second section is a wry deconstruction of Grillparzer’s play Hero and Leander that juxtaposes original
passages with images from a swimming manual and with a more contemporary erotic take on the mythological tale. The final section presents 24 short prose pieces: 12 from the
early 1950s and 12 from the past few years.
Rühm has remained a radical experimenter, a restless explorer of traditions and genres, atomizing
their elements in order to recompose them with conceptual precision and a multiplicity of compositional techniques.
— Rosmarie Waldrop
Actionist word creator, anarchic alliterator, solid scholar and theoretician, composer, graphic artist,
collagist, syllable-juggler, concrete poet, word sculptor, chronicler of the Vienna Group, and Trotskyite permanent revolutionary.
— Ruth Rybarski, Profil
196 pp., 140 x 200 mm
smyth-sewn softcover with flaps
30+ b/w images
literature : art
RRP: £14 • US$20
February 12, 2024
airmail shipping & handling incl.
will ship in early Jan. 2024
also available from:
within EU: Kennys