Narcotica. Antonin Artaud, Giacomo Leopardi.
Narcotica
Narcotica

Narcotica

San Francisco, CA: Auerhahn Press, 1959. First Printing. Stapled Wrappers. Offered here is the highly sought-after 1959 work of the Beat Generation's 'Chairman of Surrealism,' Philip Lamantia (1927-2005): the fiery-&-notorious underground classic, "Narcotica." The objectively confrontational avant-garde bona-fides of "Narcotica" announce themselves before one even reaches the text; this, of course, comes in the form of cover art & design by the eternally fascinating (and hauntingly fabled) underground artist-&-publisher, Wallace Berman. The Berman cover contains four images of Lamantia; two of these feature the poet with tourniquet tied, actively in the process of shooting up heroin. The "Total Assault On the Culture" continues, and the publication opens with an "of-and-ahead-of-its-time" bohemian screed, titled: "I DEMAND EXTINCTION OF LAWS PROHIBITING NARCOTIC DRUGS!" Among the social prescriptions offered by author, we find the following: "YOU are not going to AND DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT to tell me or anyone what to smoke or not smoke, eat or not eat--what's good and what's bad..." / .... / "...ABOLISH THE PROHIBITIONS ON THE SACRED NARCOTICS!" The above-noted hippo-strength polemic is followed by 4 poems of a similar, incendiary mode ("Bones," "Opium Cocaine Hemp"; "Opium, Put Down Of Laws Against Opium!" & "Memoria."). With the trademark humility and grace that historians traditionally associate with the practicing surrealist, Lamantia proceeds, trumpeting the arrival of Artaud's section of "Narcotica" by declaring: "Antonin Artaud is the greatest poet...[he] should be read by everyone who wants to BRING DOWN THE CROC OF SHIT HOLDING UP WAR FAMINE AND THE MURDERERS OF THE SOUL!" Artaud's section is comprised of the following short works: "A Letter to the Legislator of the Law on Narcotics" & "General Security--The Liquidation of Opium." The only other contribution--a rabbit hole for the interested scholar, make no mistake--comes at the very end of the work, the very final poem. It is attributed to Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837), an arcane Italian Poet, Philosopher, Essayist and Theologist. Titled "The Infinite," it says much about the then present-state (and prophetically nods to the future interests and trajectory) of the then 30-year old Lamantia, who spent a great deal of his intellectual life devouring and integrating 'the avant-garde of antiquity' into his own literary output. All minutiae considered, Lamantia's "Narcotica" is -- as its title suggests, -- about as "Authentically Gonzo" as it gets. It epitomizes the unrestrained, dope needle's edge of the San Francisco Renaissance at its most rebellious and unrepentant. As Lamantia himself said: "fuck yr safety, WHO NEEDS IT?" From the collection of Erin Black Matson, the late artist-poet who with her then-husband, the acclaimed poet & educator Clive Matson, were bona fide members of the Beat Generation as it morphed into the hippie counterculture during the 1960s. The Matsons were colleagues-protégés (in lifestyle as much as literature) of Herbert Huncke, Bonnie Bremser et al. The condition befits its long ownership & use by Erin, who was a tried-&-true Beat-Bohemian to the very end. Book in strong Very Good condition with slight shelf-wear to fine-edges, corners; minor-to-pronounced rubbing to front, back covers; a water stain (which spans the lower right-hand corner of pages 5-12--from the second page of the poem "Opium Cocaine Hemp" to the page on which Artuad's "General Security--The Liquidation of Opium" appears, but does not affect the text; pronounced-though-contained rusting to staples at interior & exterior. Very Good. [Item #4783]

Price: $200.00 save 15% $170.00