Adam's Reviews > The Exploits of Engelbrecht

The Exploits of Engelbrecht by Maurice Richardson
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Nov 29, 08

bookshelves: black-comedy, literature-fantastique, surrealism-dada-classics
Recommended to Adam by: Michael Moorcock, J.G. Ballard, and Rhys Hughes

This super hard to find book is an absolute classic of comic writing, surrealism, and concentrated non-stop invention. While a lot of surrealist writing has a limited appeal this like Leonora Carrington’s Hearing Trumpet should appeal to the proverbial 8-80 year old. Everyone should have copy. It’s a collection of short stories about Englebrecht and his fellows at the surrealist sporting club. Each of their sports turn into a hallucinatory adventure that threatens logic and the members own lives. These stories combine gothic and science fiction touches with wild theatricality. Totally whacked in the head silliness presented with tone that enables dark undercurrents to mix with comic antics, (Satirizing witch hunts and the cold war among other things) This book should be considered with Peake’s Gormenghast books, Flan O’brien’s The Third Policeman, and Vian’s wild romps for mastering this combination.(these are about the only books of its era or even now that are even vaguely similar). This book’s influence is seen in Michael Moorcock’s Dancers at the End of Time(Moorcock being a longtime champion of this book), Rhys Hughes’s wild fictions(he apparently has written a sequel that I would love to find), and J.G. Ballard is also a fan (Ballard’s surrealism is more obsessive and bleak than Richardson’s, but his Vermillion Sands collection is similarly playful). The James Boswell(not that one) illustrations are absolutely amazing, parodying Bosch,Dore, Fuselli, Blake , and others. Happy hunting for this one.
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