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Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer An Amusement

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10 thoughts on “Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer An Amusement

  1. says:

    I was already a big fan of Kenneth Patchen after reading his terrifyingly beautiful anti war novel The Journal of Albion Moonlight but he really nailed it with his surreal Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer The loose plot follows the comedic adventures of a shy man who accidentally writes a work of pornography and ends up in a variety of absurd social situations Like the scathing poetic rants against war in Albion Moonlight Patchen turns his raging eye here on society cultural production and genres satirizing the failure of culture to produce meaning What really makes this novel work though is the protagonist Alfred Budd an innocent and honest man who has the ability of manifesting anything he imagines into reality Unlike contemporary fictions that would ridicule such a figure Budd is presented as the sole source of sanity and possibility in a world falling into surreal meaninglessness especially in his attempts to heal a crippled girl by imagining hard enough that she can walk again and convincing her to believe that this is possible What really sealed my love of this hilarious and moving book was a scene where Budd tries to convince the girl that she can walk by saying that god doesn't need to exist as belief is only about things that we don't understand or aren't real except that everything we can imagine is realAnd what would you say the God who stands before you is?EverythingThat's certainly narrowing it downEverything which man can imagine dream or conceivably want to exist Will exist?Does exist How else could we conceive of them? It amazes me to think that there are people who suppose they believe in God and yet won't believe that there are butterflies bigger than the earth that there are fires raging at the bottom of the sea that there are leopards made of golden wire circling the sun And these things prove there is a God?Prove there isn't because there's no need for oneI think that this idea that everything we can imagine is real is very important and entirely missing today an age where we are all too aware of the falsity of the Spectacle that confronts us in every direction that despite their unreality the productions of culture do effect us in very real ways that the imagination does and has always been the only human means to make reality real As such Patchen offers a way out or beyond this suggesting that the kinds of stories we are used to telling are not the only kinds of stories and that the frail aesthetic irreality we give these stories might be replaced by a belief in the possibility of anything we can imagine


  2. says:

    This book has two plots reflecting themes that run throughout much of Patchen's work the absurdity of the profane civilized world and the importance of focusing on the sacred or natural world to bring meaning order and purpose to human existence The device Patchen chose for the first theme is that of censorship of erotic content in literature It is from this that the book derives its title When this book was written in 1945 books were often published in the US with ellipses substituting for forbidden words The beginning of the book tells the story of a first novel of innocent love called The Spool of Destiny written by Albert Budd of Bivalve New Jersey An unscrupulous editor changes the book's name to The Spill of Desire and substitutes and for Albert's innocent words throughout the text in such uantity that the book must be published overseas Albert becomes a best selling pornographer who everyone wants to meet and women want to make love toAbout half way through the work Albert meets and falls in love with another innocent Priscilla and the story moves from the profane life of New York society to a sacred love that works miracles and heals all wrongs This is the most moving part of the book and Patchen's best portrayal of this mystical transformational love that inspires so many of his poems I think many readers might give up on this book in the first half and miss this gem of prose writing embedded in the second halfIf you like Patchen's poetry you must read this book If you haven't read Patchen before stop whatever you are doing and either read this book or a book of his poetry He is truly a great American author and this is his most approachable novel This review is dedicated to Miriam Kenneth Patchen's wife and inspiration who died in 2001


  3. says:

    I was watching Playtime the movie by Jacue Tati and his innocent M Hulot character reminded me of the decent narrator of this book who stumbles into publishing a dirty novel and further surreal adventures It’s also like an Abbott and Costello routine rich with wordplay and slapstick That’s a novelty for a novel Even the so called funny ones often fall flat Not here though where every pratfall is followed by a lol


  4. says:

    The guy at the bookshop told me this book was very funny Yes it is But it is much than that It's a surrealist painting in the style of René Margritte made out of words It's a sarcastic attack on the stupidity of the cultural establishement It's a wonderful love story If you liked Boris Vian's L’Écume des jours you will like this one too And it is first at all a radical pacifist manifesto writen during world war two This makes Kenneth Patchen to one of the most courageous US American artists of his and our timesPS As I read this book in German I have to give a big kudo to the translater ms Katharina Behrens


  5. says:

    Post war dopejazz writing; I suppose it's fairly funny and has some spots of raw power I did love this part a whole lot thoughDeath went on very happily in our little house It's wonderful to be dead and at peace and not have to bother about money and evils and all the rest of it


  6. says:

    I LOVE KENNETH PATCHEN what can i say? the man is a tender hearted genius


  7. says:

    This is not really about shyness nor pornography And by the way your hat's on backwardsps It's Albert Budd not Alfred


  8. says:

    I found this to be beautiful and funny inspiring and psychedelic


  9. says:

    This is my favorite postmodern novel It's very psychedelic and has a lot of sexual subject matter It's silly and playful with a scathing sardonic wit It's also a difficult and dense book Super eclectic and often ridiculous this will thwart the efforts of any reader who attempts a traditional sentimental reading That's what makes it postmodernPatchen in addition to being a postmodern novelist was also a pre beat poet He was a major influence on the prose and poetry of the Beats Many of the techniues of Hunter S Thompson were first broken in not always successfully in this work of Kenneth Patchen It's fair to say that Patchen helped break the ground and prepare the audience for the Beat works that would follow in succeeding years


  10. says:

    Closest thing I've seen yet to Boris Vian's Foam Of The Daze in English Or a novel by the Firesign Theatre Or by Spike Jones Or a novel printed on blotter paper THAT kind of blotter Or a Demetri Martin routine transcribed into a novel printed on blotter paper Yes THAT kind of blotter paper Or the great lost Marx Brothers movie transcribed into a novel Printed on blotter paper By Spike Jones Except it's by Kenneth Patchen Everyone on Earth should buy six copies