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The Journal of Albion Moonlight
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The Journal of Albion Moonlight

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  490 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Kenneth Patchen sets off on an allegorical journey of his own in which the far boundaries of love and murder, madness and sex are sensually explored. His is the tale of a disordered pilgrimage to H. Roivas (Heavenly Savior) in which the deranged responses of individuals point up the outer madness from which they derive in a more imaginative way that social protest generall ...more
Paperback, 313 pages
Published January 17th 1961 by New Directions (first published 1941)
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David Katzman
Disturbing, experimental and brutal, The Journal of Albion Moonlight is a post-apocalyptic novel before such a thing was invented. Patchen doesn't require an invented fantasy apocalypse to tell this story, war is the apocalypse that ends life, morality, and rationality, War is madness. The story is nominally set during World War II but it really takes place in a mind at war. The Journal of Albion Moonlight felt like the pre-cursor to Naked Lunch, perhaps it influenced Burroughs. Patchen combines ...more
Nick Craske
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a gnarled, writhing and undulating experience of a novel. A twisted and peculiar allegorical quest to divinity —actually into madness— inspired by the pre-Shakesperian lyric Tom O'Bedlam [TO'B written by an anonymous author].

Our protagonist sets out during wartime to traverse the devastation and horror of capitalism's war to reach the sanctity of a holier place... Aaannnnnd that's as much clarity as I can muster.

This book is akin to experiencing s
Max Nemtsov
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Давно собирался — и вот наконец-то. Совершенно бесценный постмодернистский роман 1940 года — человека, который (хоть и не в одно лицо) сделал не только битников, но и много кого еще. Парализованный поэт занимался всем этим прекрасным творчеством, когда это не было ни прибыльно, ни популярно. Делмор Шварц, работавший у Локлина в ту пору «литконсультантом», романа испугался и публиковать его не рекомендовал, и «Новые направления» опомнились только через 20 лет — и в 1961-м роман все же напечатали, ...more
Tania ChatdiMuse
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
First of all I bought this book for 25 cents at a small rusty library. I was immediately seduced by its raunchy cover. When I started reading it I thought it was dangerous because of its graphic bloody and sexual portrayal, but certain parts mostly its ill humored cleverly constructed remarks would make me burst out laughing, it didn't take itself so serious so I kept on reading till I felt addicted. It is carried in a controlled reckless manner, it is poetically haunting, darkly childlike, expe ...more
Zaubin Z
Aug 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
Surrealist literature from earlier in the century, ~world war II. A man seeks an enigmatic figure that is both demon and saint. Convinced of crimes that he didn't commit. Albion bares himself in naked brilliance. Don't expect a solid storyline, or even a plot. The book gives up on itself several times and tries to start over. Not your typical fiction. Albion is only on the surface, the author underneath. Paschen continually attempts to get to the heart of his experience, without any hope of reac ...more
Aug 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adults
The surrealistic use of stream-of-consciousness allows readers to experience World War II as Americans witnessed it in the summer of 1940. The story conveys the sense of being trapped in a totalitarian nightmare, and captures the aura of alienation and impotence against the unseen evil that shapes modern life.

The plot describes the flight of a disparate group of Americans through the nation in 1940. This flight, from something to something and somewhere to somewhere else, becomes a murderous ad
Apr 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: beatniks
Shelves: unfinished
"Books--all those big, heavy-bottomed ashcans where men empty their lives. I like the leopard. I don't like Benj. Franklin."

This book starts off with some interestingly hallucinatory and surrealistic prose, but cannot maintain the necessary mixture of abstraction, alienation, and violence. Soon it devolves into bad gender relations and attacks on language and tradition, as per above or: "Man has been corrupted by his symbols. Language has killed his animal." &etc.

There are interesting aspect
Sep 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Tony & Aleathia
How to write from the core of the naked soul.
Ben Loory
May 30, 2015 rated it liked it
one of a kind; sort of a goth whitman? a feverishly scattered surrealist road trip through a WWII pre-beat post-apocalyptic dreamscape. studded with some beautiful poetry and great lines and aphorisms, but just... largely boring. probably best read a few random pages at a time.

What is often mistaken for prose style is only a tone of false gravity.
Nikki Wells
Oct 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I loved this book so much I carried it around for two years and still I come back to it at some point. He is like a high school friend I check on from time to time to say "Hi and Thank You for my addiction to you and many others authors because of you".
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in college and I was afraid that it might not hold up on a 2nd reading... but Patchen is so quirky that there is really no time or place but the present to read this wonderful book.
ds white
May 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I clutched this book as if it were a bible, when I was a teenager and if I were to read it again, I am sure my fingers would grip it just the same.
Mary Overton
“Everyone is saying where can we hide when the war comes? No one at all is saying: where can we hide the war?” (35)

A formidable, deeply affecting novel/poem by a master of mixed media. I read “Albion Moonlight” in bits and pieces, binged on it, ignored it for months only to take it up again, amazed by what I remembered and didn’t remember. At several points I thought I’d never finish it. At other points I wanted to read nothing else.

Patchen, a pacifist, self-published “The Journal of Albion Moon
Debbie Franz
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Poets
Recommended to Debbie by: Linda Wagner
Kenneth Patchen's piece is poetic prose with poetry supplanted into work. Amazing images of Albion Moonlight and his travails with his companions as they travel the US during the world war two period.
There is much allegory to images of Moonlight as the sacrificed son, much as Jesus was sacrificed. For a man who was bed bound due to a spinal condition, Patchen conjures up images as the painters of the Impressionist movement did with paint. The book may remind readers of Joyce's Ulysses, but this
Brendan Cooney
Dec 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-favorites
Perhaps my most favorite book of all time? At least in the top five. This is also easily one of the key novels in helping me develop my voice as a writer -- Patchen is essential, especially if only as a creative entity.

I categorize this book as "rare" because I never find people have read it, let alone have heard of him or remember him and securing a copy of the book, even in the shoddy state mine is in, took nearly a month via online resellers!
Larry Smith
Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
You have to be ready for this one...It challenges all assumptions. One of the great anti-war books in literature.
Jerry Whalley
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
we’d send a scout, the Poet Kenneth Patchen, with eyes for something derp’d, to run over the arc of this rolling whirl’d; and he’d run and run, looking hither and thither, switch-back his eyes from the blind-spot that confabulates the looking-hole with what we think we know … our brain makes-up things to fill-in the blanks, so ya’ have to send someone askew-of-you, who doesn’t really know what you'd do, someone off the beaten-path that can simply-see through this scotoma-hole filled in by the br ...more
Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The author of this book was so creative and his imagination so powerful that it shattered not only the laws of physics but even the laws of literature itself. In addition, without any doubt, some of the loveliest imagery, if not the most stunningly beautiful images ever conceived, are contained in this book. I have a copy which was signed by the author's wife, Miriam Patchen, who has by now passed out of and hopefully beyond this reality.

Kenneth Patchen, the author, would surely be more well kno
Alan Marchant
Confession: when I was 18 The Journal seemed mysterious and psychological.

The poet speaks for himself: "there can only be one action: what a man is. When you have understood this, you will be through with novels."

What The Journal is not:
a novel;
a serious pacifist manifesto;
a journey across America;
disturbing or affecting.

What The Journal is:
Patchen's excuse to whine about literature;
an undisciplined take-off on Hesse's Journey to the East;
the epitome of misogyny;
worshipful Marxist drivel;
Adriaan Krabbendam
Dec 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This was the book I was hoping for when I was young, written by a "man of anger and delight" (Henry Miller), very poetic, dark, humoristic and moving, experimental in many ways (also typographic), but above all, driven by a tangible wonder. Unfortunately the dutch translator cocked up the translation, with the result that Patchen never really made it in the Netherlands, except in certain artistic scenes. But I was in the priviliged situation to read the American original first, and became a Patc ...more
May 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A major influence on the Beats and collaborator with jazz musicians, Patchen somehow taps into the collective horror of World War II, penning a disjointed and surreal journal of a group of people fleeing and raging against a ubiquitous army of wolves. Phenomenal and chilling, this is the 40s, an emotional intensity never reached in the work of Pynchon, including the ballsy move of making both Jesus and Hitler misunderstood minor characters to his plot. A must read.
Jul 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read this book many years ago, shortly after returning from Vietnam. My recollection is that it contained some very intense writing with some quite remarkable prose; but then, maybe I was just in an intense mood, after a fairly intense period in my life. A friend allowed me to stay at his cabin in the woods, overlooking a lake in Kentucky in the new winter with no leaves on the trees and no snow on the ground, just grey sky all around.
Thom Dunn
May 31, 2009 rated it liked it
NOT A REVIEW} Dick Bauerle called this "precious" writing. Seemed like a dream vision to me when I read it 50 years ago. Might could try it again. One of those dreams where you are travelling endlessly through a ghostly landscape.
Aug 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Weird? Genius? It barely makes sense, but when it does just try and stop yourself from scribbling down whole sections of this book into your journal. It's stream-of-consciousness meets surrealism. You know, basically. Oh, and Kenneth Patchen is from Ohio, so, booyah.
May 01, 2009 is currently reading it
Currently reading as the first book in my postmodern dive bar reading club. Location: Ventura, CA
William Thomas
Dec 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
a surrealist work that is anti-beat. thank christ. it is more poetic than kerouac could ever hope to be. fuck the beats, except the holy father william burroughs. fuck beat writing.
Joe Romano
Jun 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The greatest cry of love, mad murderous––for the 'human animal', I have ever read.
Read and reread. Infinite and finite.
Chilly SavageMelon
Jul 29, 2012 rated it liked it
One of the strangest book I've ever read. Don't ask me to explain it...
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this when I was a teenager. Still with me. I don't know how to rate it - deplorable maybe
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“Ah I can see that....
You can see anything once you've been told it's there to see”
“The question is not: do we believe in God? but rather: does God believe in us? And the answer is: only an unbeliever could have created our image of God; and only a false God could be satisfied with it.” 5 likes
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