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The First Book of Grabinoulor Paperback – Jul 1 2000

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From Publishers Weekly

After founding the Dada journal Sic, which printed his poems and those of more famous writers, Albert-Birot invented his joyously erotic hero, Grabinoulor, whose earliest exploits appeared in Sic in 1921. The irrepressible Grabinoulor performs his fantastic epic feats in an onrush of perpetual motion, which this slim book presents in rivers of unpunctuated prose. When Grabinoulor moves a statue in his apartment, trying to restore the parallels and perpendiculars of the furniture, he topples the earth. With his unconventional poetry, he squashes a grammarian. When unleashing his sexual fantasies, he produces poems shaped like bellies, breasts and phalluses. For some of these verses, the French text is included to reveal plays on words. Albert-Birot celebrated the erotic as a means of freeing the artistic imagination from bourgeois constraints. For him, sexuality represented poetic creation. His tricks of language, his leaps through time and space are in the traditions of Rabelais and Shandy. The ribaldry does not shock now as it once perhaps did, but Grabinoulor is still fun to read. The book is a valuable document in the development of Dada and surrealism.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

From the publisher's French literature series, Albert-Birot's 1986 Grabinoulor actually appeared first in 1919 in the literary avant-garde publication SIC, of which the author was founder and editor. The book is presented in both traditional chapters and in sections in which the words appear in the form of shapes such as triangles and even lips. In Cholodenko's more straightforward work, the eponymous hero sets out to investigate himself and his surroundings in a series of vignettes highlighting the absurdity of his life. More for the academics.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Put on your reading glasses and surrender to happiness. Grabinoulor still liberates. Feb. 13 2015
By Guttersnipe Das - Published on
Format: Paperback
The fact that this book is almost totally forgotten seems to me indicative of the low esteem in which joy is held in this world. Nearly a hundred years ago, Albert-Birot was the publisher of SIC, an avant-garde review which published every famous name in Dada. When "Grabinoulor" appeared, it was praised by Apollinaire, Celine, Max Jacob and Raymond Queneau. I had never heard of it, despite reading fairly deeply in writing of the period. I found it by chance, lying in the stacks of a Galway book shop. Marvelous good fortune!

Grabinoulor is a mad picaresque tale, in 26 parts, one of them verse, with zero punctuation, about being young, omnipotent and exceptionally horny. Written at the end of World War I, the narrator begins with an appreciation of his vigorous morning boner and proceeds at once to reshape Paris and the globe. I'm telling you, there's nothing like this book -- which also means I'm rather helpless to describe it. If you've read Henri Michaux, think of the tales of Plume -- but now imagine that the protagonist, instead of being thwarted and trodden upon at every turn is instead repeatedly victorious.

What sort of book is this? This is a book where the protagonist advises his grieving widowed friend to telephone Venus and ask her to send a Great Love at once and she agrees, calls up Venus right up. Venus, too, agrees and asks for specifics (dark haired and well-equipped, please), and poof! Great Love appears at once. Everything is going swimmingly until the widow's dead husband calls up from Heaven, where phones have recently been installed. Does this give you an idea? Or: in Chapter 19 of this book "a lobster mayonnaise starts the world going again." Time and space are more playthings than obstacles and Grabinoulor usually gets the girl. It's so much fun, engaging and readable, despite the atrocious typeface. Put on your reading glasses and surrender to happiness. Intended to liberate the soul, Grabinoulor still does the job, nearly a century later.

Reading Grabinoulor, I was surprised that it doesn't have a cult following -- at least not in English. What a brilliant source text for painters, poets, song writers, animators, and film makers -- to say nothing of libertines and sensualists. When you're fed up with despair, when you've had all the ennui you can bear, seek out the hero Grabinoulor. He's spectacularly horny and out for a lark across the universe.

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