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Black-White-Red Grotesques

Black-White-Red Grotesques

By Mynona
Translated by W.C. Bamberger 


“Mynona created a new kind of literary genre, which not only went beyond the inventions of Scheerbart but which also anticipated Dada, surrealism, and above all, contemporary literature of the absurd.”—Kurt Tucholsky

Black–White–Red
, first published in German in 1916, collects six bizarre tales by the “laughing philosopher,” Salomo Friedlaender, who wrote his literary work under the pseudonym Mynona (the reversed German word for “anonymous”). Mynona’s self-styled “grotesques” inhabited an uncertain ground between fairy tale, fetishism, and philosophy: a peculiar form of slapstick that satirized anything from nationalism to philanthropy. In this collection, we encounter a tongue-in-cheek showdown between Goethe and Newton, whose theories of color clash in the form of a nationalistic flag, as well as a striking invention that captures the residual sound waves of Goethe’s voice. In “The Magic Egg,” one of Mynona’s most emblematic and curious tales, a man encounters an enormous bisecting mechanical egg in the middle of the desert that houses a mummy and a possible pathway to utopia on Earth. Other stories see dead lovers arise from their graves to drive off in casket cars and a would-be philanthropist seeking the good life through an offering of tissue to strangers on the street.

Paperback
72 pages
Originally published in 1916
Wakefield Press, 2022
4.5 x 7 x 0.5 inches
ISBN 9781939663849     
Literature, Short Stories

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