The Arthritic Grasshopper: Collected Stories, 1934–1944
by Gisele Prassinos, illustrated by Allan Kausch
First discovered, celebrated, and published at the age of fourteen by the Surrealists (who declared her to be the “new Alice”), Gisèle Prassinos quickly established herself in the literary world as a fount of automatic tales woven through with transgressive humor, coy menace, and a pervading sense of threatened feminine identity within a hostile world. “Gisèle Prassinos’s tone is unique,” claimed André Breton, “all the poets are jealous of it. Swift lowers his eyes, Sade shuts his candy box.” The Arthritic Grasshopper: Collected Stories, 1934–1944 gathers together an assortment of anxious dream tales drawn from literary journals and plaquettes, introduced and illustrated by such admirers as Paul Éluard, Man Ray, and Hans Bellmer. These 72 stories include such longer, novella-length narratives as “Sondue,” “The Executioner,” and “The Dream.”
About the author: Gisèle Prassinos (1920–2015) was born in Istanbul of a Greek father and an Italian mother. At the age of thirteen she began to compose short absurdist vignettes in a fit of boredom, filling up pages with tales of sarcastic stains, arrogant hair, liquid frogs, and blue spiders. Encouraged by her brother, who introduced her and her experiments in automatic writing to his Surrealist colleagues, she immediately found herself welcomed into the Parisian avant-garde community and her stories were published in all the significant literary journals of the time. Her first collection was published in 1935, with a preface by Paul Éluard and a frontispiece portrait by Man Ray. With World War II, Prassinos stopped publishing and began to distance herself from the Surrealists and the limitations imposed by her writing being so closely bound to the idea of automatism in its purest, “childhood” form. Writing nothing from 1944 to 1954, she then returned to literature with a series of novels and stories that, if still imbued with a Surrealist sensibility, pointed to a new direction in her writing.
About the artist: Born in Chicago in 1957, Allan Kausch now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Editor of over 1100 projects for Lucasfilm Ltd. (including the manga adaptations of the original Star Wars films for which he won the Eisner and Harvey awards), Kausch has also edited five volumes of the Selected Letters of Philip K. Dick for Underwood Books, over sixty books for Tachyon Publications, thirty for Night Shade Books, six for Black Widow Press, and eighteen projects for PM Press, including a selection of Michael Moorcock’s books.
Text adapted from the publisher’s press materials
ABOUT THE BOOK The Arthritic Grasshopper: Collected Stories, 1934–1944 by Gisele Prassinos, illustrated by Allan Kausch 240 pages; 9″x6″ ISBN 978-1-939663-22-1 $16.95 US Wakefield Press; 2017