Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Rebarbative Threnody" by Joel S Muttoe

Today I received in the mail a copy of the ultra-scarce compilation "Orange is the Color of The Charnel House", bid and won on eBay for the extremely low price of $473. It features stories by some of the greats of surrealism and what's become known as "masochism lit," authors such as Andre Breton, Fernand Dumont, Gisele Prassinos, X. Chalquez, and of course my own beloved Joel S. Muttoe, whom I consider to be one of the two or three best writers of all time.

I first discovered the obscure and belligerent Mr Muttoe's (1889-1952) works in high school, from that famous reference in Burroughs' "Naked Lunch," the line "like something out of Muttoe's wettest nightmare." I searched and finally found a copy of his collection "The Dreaming Gazelle," which features his most famous story (the one you probably know), "Lover's Infection," along with other greats like "Slab Sputum," and the title story.

"Rebarbative Threnody" is a story I'd heard about but never actually read, since it has not been reprinted except in "Charnel House." I'm so excited that I've decided to go ahead and scan the pages in here, mostly for historical/educational purposes (and please credit me if you reference this blog entry), since to my knowledge it's mostly impossible to find. One word of warning, however: This story is extremely bleak. It is lovely and beautiful, as are all of Muttoe's works, but it is bleak. This is not hyperbole. It is the bleakest story I have ever willingly read from beginning to end more than five times.

(By the way, I'd like to take issue with the editor's introduction to the story: Muttoe could be surprisingly "glass-half-full"-- I offer his "The Kite Story" as an example.)






Originally posted here.

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