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The Devil’s Popess cover image The Devil’s Popess

Jehan Sylvius & Pierre de Ruysnes

The Printed Head
Volume IV, Number 4/5

Translated by Iain White.
ISBN 1 900565 03 X
88pp 13.5 x 21cm
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When it was first brought out, by a publisher specialising in erotica (in a series containing such titles as Les Passions de Gisèle and Les Plaisirs défendus), this text very likely puzzled, and possibly disappointed some of its readers. True enough there was the erotic element - a little lesbianism, a touch of S & M - but it was by no means the customary sequence of sexual set-pieces.

At the time of its publication, journalists were still evoking the “yellow peril"; among certain so-called intellectuals the would-be prophet-cum-culture-historian Spengler’s Decline of the West was still popular; at pulp-novel level Sax Rohmer was chilling his readers with the exploits of Dr. Fu Manchu, bent upon world domination... and in The Devil’s Popess these clichés of the period are worked up into a paroxysm taken to the point of parody and/or a parody taken to the point of paroxysm.

Long attributed - at least inpart - to the Surrealist poet Robert Desnos, this first English translation also includes an intriguing speculation upon the mystery of the book’s actual authors.



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