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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

Raymond Roussel

Raymond Roussel was born into a wealthy Parisian family in 1877 and died in a hotel room in Palermo in 1933. His works have influenced such artists and writers as Marcel Duchamp ("Roussel showed me the way"), Alberto Giacometti, Kenneth Koch, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Leonardo Sciascia, Italo Calvino, Paul Auster, Georges Perec, and Jim Jarmusch.


Locus Solus

Fiction by Raymond Roussel

translated by Rupert Copeland Cunningham

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.