The pleasures of the ’Pataphysical novel: The Exploits & Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician

My previous post on this subject focused on The Supermale.  I had mentioned Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician, and now I’ll discuss the pleasures of its overt ’pataphysicality.

Regarding Dr. Faustroll himself:

Doctor Faustroll was sixty-three years old when he was born in Circassia in 1898 (the 20th Century was [-2] years old).

Anomalies are possible in the ’pataphysical world: your age need not be based on your birth date.

A sample of what is said about his appearance:

He was beardless, apart from his mustachios, through the judicious use of baldness microbes which permeated his skin from the groin to the eyelashes and ate away all the follicles, without any need for Faustroll to fear that his scalp-hair or eyebrows might fall out, since these microbes attack only fresh young hairs.  From his groin down to his feet, in contrast, he was sheathed in a satiric black fur, for he was man to an improper degree.

Symbiosis need not be with organisms that actually exist.  Yes, this is fiction.  Yes, this is fiction with science.  This is more than science fiction, though: it is indulgent in over-explanation, hyper-reasoning; it is clearly self-aware (a sentient science?!).  Of course, this indulgence is humorous, just as anything “overdone” is humorous.

There is a chapter dedicated to “defining” ’pataphysics.  Here’s one assertion:

Ex: an epiphenomenon being often accidental, pataphysics will be, above all, the science of the particular, despite the common opinion that the only science is that of the general.

I love this as I recognize that only specifics exist: classificatory, abstract terms are generalizations and do not describe specific, existent things/beings/processes.  Yes, science tends to focus on finding patterns, repeatable rules—but what truly exist are specific instances.  Species also don’t actually exist—just the individual organisms; “species” is simply a way to group organisms with genetic similarities….

That said, I must acknowledge an annoying aspect of the novel; there is some explicit misogyny in this text:

We must, in fact, inevitably admit that the common herd (including small children and women) is too dimwitted to comprehend elliptic equations, and that its members are at one in a so-called universal assent because they are capable of perceiving only those curves having a single focal point, since it is easier to coincide with one point rather than with two.

Why the misogyny, Jarry?  I leave that to the scholars (the misogyny is discussed a bit in the “Disoccultation” chapter of ‘Pataphysics: A Useless Guide.  I haven’t read it, but perhaps Alfred Jarry: A Pataphysical Life would also be helpful).  And because ’pataphysics itself does not require or support misogyny, I choose to overlook this as an unfortunate quirk….

Have you read Dr. Faustroll?  If so, what are your thoughts on it?