May 8, by caindevera. I read The Supermale in a language I was still shaky in at the time, despite ten years of immersion. So I read it again this year, in English, and then passed it off to my girlfriend. It was a disquieting reminder both of the failures of memory and the difficulties of translation, even if the translation is occurring instantaneously, almost subliminally, in my head. The action takes places in only a few scenes, a diner, a short conversation, a transcontinental bicycle race, a stupendously long and ultimately fatal display of sexual prowess the likes of which Ron Jeremy, I am certain, would be envious. I had forgotten the sheer lewdness and bawdiness of the book, including its climax, all puns intended, what with the marathon sex scene, 82 goes and all.
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Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — The Supermale by Alfred Jarry. The Supermale by Alfred Jarry ,. Ralph Gladstone Translator. Barbara Wright Translator.
Jarry's legendary novel is a comical celebration of erotic prowess in the machine age With the very first word of his famous play Ubu Roi --"Shite! Jarry's equally revolutionary novels form the cornerstones of a science he named "Pataphysics," a method for the ratio Jarry's legendary novel is a comical celebration of erotic prowess in the machine age With the very first word of his famous play Ubu Roi --"Shite!
After 82 acts of intercourse, doctors finally hook him up to a machine, with whom he merges in the book's--and the Supermale's--final climax. Like a mock Jules Verne, Jarry describes these deranged proceedings in a calm prose, crisply rendered here by Barbara Wright, one of French literature's finest translators.
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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Supermale. Jun 24, James Tingle rated it really liked it. This novel is pretty weird to say the least, but it's also really fun to read as you revel in the surreal adventures and the mad imagery that Jarry conjures up. A hard book to adequately describe but very interesting and trippy and always supremely inventive.
A lot of people will probably hate it, but the open minded in search of something original will most likely enjoy it and appreciate a writer who did things very much his own way.
Dec 28, Dave rated it liked it. Absurd, provocative and ultimately tragic this book is also funny in parts. Some ideas I enjoyed: that human potential is limitless but technology can harness it; that God is created by mankind in its image; and that a diet of raw mutton is what superhumans eat. There is a crazy bicycle race in this book that is very much a set piece for the potential of human powered technology that flows like a surreal dream with dreamlike elements thrown in: a dead guy being "trained" to keep cadence with th Absurd, provocative and ultimately tragic this book is also funny in parts.
There is a crazy bicycle race in this book that is very much a set piece for the potential of human powered technology that flows like a surreal dream with dreamlike elements thrown in: a dead guy being "trained" to keep cadence with the rest of the cycle machine and of course there's a feeble minded dwarf on the bike.
Can't have a surrealistic episode without a feeble minded dwarf as David Lynch learned 80 years later. Our Supermale's superiority is measured, along with a few other things, by his sexual prowess. But I'm afraid that Jarry implies that quantity as in the number of times our guy can get it up in a row is a better measure than quality; Supermale kisses and caresses his lover all over tenderly only AFTER he thinks she has died.
It's something he never thought to do before Ahead of its time in many ways, Supermale shows its contemporaneous age in its attitude toward women, nonwhite races and class. Still, an entertaining little read and probably one of the very first examples of what could be described as a cyborg in literature. Oct 27, Nathan "N.
Aug 14, Matthew DeCostanza rated it really liked it Shelves: science-fiction , satire. A mysterious stranger defies authority, wins races and woos damsels in this strange vision of a Paris. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, essentially what is a primer of all early science fiction. And, as is so typical of Jarry, the author synthesizes this already oddball cocktail of influences with the literary fashions of the day: melodramatic life-and-death romance in the style of Tolstoy or Austen, A mysterious stranger defies authority, wins races and woos damsels in this strange vision of a Paris.
And, as is so typical of Jarry, the author synthesizes this already oddball cocktail of influences with the literary fashions of the day: melodramatic life-and-death romance in the style of Tolstoy or Austen, scenes depicting the superficial foibles of high society, and a half-educated parlance of the antiquated scientific and philosophic fascinations of the time are a few that meet his gaze.
Athough Jarry was well-versed in the classics his prose did not match that of his heroes. An issue I had constantly was with his poor grasp of location; At times I had to turn a few pages back to re-adjust my impression of the characters' surroundings, as this vital information was often of secondary importance to the neverending stream of flowery but stilted prose. There was, however, room for some swooningly romantic diction, not to mention some raunchy-by-today's-standards descriptions of sex: "as their chests separated a loud and wet suction sound resonated throughout the room.
Nov 03, Amy rated it it was amazing. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Sep 11, Lori rated it it was amazing. This is Jarry's major novel, to be read along with the Gestures and Opinions of Dr. Between the two you will revel in the world of pataphysics. I am glad that most people like this book, but to me it is a bunch of nonsense. May 07, Cheryl Anne Gardner rated it it was amazing.
Our protagonist Andre Marcueil had grand ideas He believed it so fervently that he would risk his life in a ten-thousand mile race with a steam locomotive at speeds greater than miles per hour with no rest and no sustenance, save the cubes of perpetual motion food, then to copulate with the same woman 82 times in twenty-four hours, and to recharge an electric chair desig Our protagonist Andre Marcueil had grand ideas He believed it so fervently that he would risk his life in a ten-thousand mile race with a steam locomotive at speeds greater than miles per hour with no rest and no sustenance, save the cubes of perpetual motion food, then to copulate with the same woman 82 times in twenty-four hours, and to recharge an electric chair designed to produce love.
Maybe, or maybe his futuristic ideas held something of substance, something an ordinary mind could not possibly grasp hold of. Andrew Marcueil - Hercules, Frankenstein, or Supermale?
The fusion of man and machine is not that uncommon a theme, but Jarry takes our protagonist one step further into the surreal, envisioning a better human race, where the age old philosophies of man are not only limited but are pointless idiocies.
The self-inflicted trials and tribulations our protagonist endures in this story are beyond reason and ultimately absurd. But for all the absurdity, it is the story of a man's search for himself - a better self. Above all, discretely woven into this tale is a love story, a heart wrenching sad love story. And what of love? Could someone as cruel and heartless as our protagonist actually love? Love being something beyond infinite and ungraspable - a shadow.
In order find love, one must understand God. Would Andre ever understand Could he see God in himself, even though his egotistical mania filled him with the belief that he actually was God. Even Jarry himself had his doubts: "If nothing is sacred and everything is absurd and meaningless, the logical conclusion is self-annihilation. Love is not a means to an end - it is the end in itself, for without it, no matter how many contraptions we strap to our backs, we will perish.
We are the only machines that have the capacity to generate love, and in that lies the truth: The human capacity for love is limitless. Jarry's prose is eloquent and refined Surrealist and Sci-Fi fans alike will be pleased with the implications of this story. Jun 02, Rupert Owen rated it it was amazing. Having gleaned the reviews already on here about Alfred Jarry's The Supermale, I don't feel I really need to add much more. I will say however that I deeply enjoyed this work, it has the same anti-erotic absurd verve as Visits of Love, and in many ways experiments with the same themes.
Like Shaw's Superman this is a character portrait that draws upon the Don Juan theme, except Jarry has fused it with Baron Munchausen, only to then give it the complete Ubu make-over. I will surely need to read th Having gleaned the reviews already on here about Alfred Jarry's The Supermale, I don't feel I really need to add much more. I will surely need to read this book again, if only to understand more thoroughly the metaphysics at work, especially concerning the philosophical views of Theophrastus.
The level I read it at allowed for the luxurious imagery of the absurd to prick my senses - the ten thousand mile race fuelled by a super food alcohol , seven nude tarts crashing through a window only to be tamed by a gramophone embedded amongst an arrangement of roses, and many other delights that Jarry has buried within the story.
It will amuse and if not it will tickle your curiosity buds. Jan 22, Jesse rated it liked it. A mad scientist tale crossed with bits of farcical high-society squabbling and one really long, bizarre passage about biking, this concerns the grand experiment of Andre Marcueil, who uses his own super-toned body to prove his theories about the infinite capacities of the human body, engaging in a weird stunt involving copulation on a grand scale.
The novel, Jarry's last, revolves around a race between a train and a team of cyclists fuelled by perpetual-motion food and the exploits of a "supermale" capable of prodigious feats of endurance and sexual athleticism. Supermale was translated into English by Barbara Wright in A large part of the novel takes place on Andre Marcueil's estate, Chateau de Lurance. It is set in the s, the near future when it was written. During a dinner party at the mansion of Andre Marcueil, the main character, several guests discuss the nature of love. Arthur Gough, William Elson, Dr. Bathybius, and the host propose four definitions of love.
Alfred Jarry – The Supermale