Locus Solus

by: Raymond Roussel

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Locus Solus by Raymond Roussel / Translated by Rupert Copeland Cunningham / ISBN 9780811226455 / 256-page paperback from New Directions

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An intoxicating sui generis novel by “the greatest mesmerist of modern times” (André Breton)

"There is hidden in Roussel something so strong, so ominous, and so pregnant with the darkness of the ‘infinite spaces’ that frightened Pascal, that one feels the need for some sort of protective equipment when one reads him." --John Ashbery

The wealthy scientist Martial Canterel guides a group of visitors through his expansive estate, Locus Solus, where he displays his various deranged inventions, each more spectacular than the last. First, he introduces a machine propelled by the weather, which constructs a mosaic out of varying hues of human teeth, then shows a hairless cat charged with a powerful electric battery, and next a bizarre theater in which corpses are reanimated with a special serum to enact the most important movements of their past lives. Wondrously imaginative and narrated with Roussel’s deadpan wit, Locus Solus is unlike anything else ever written.