The Conductor and Other Tales

Written by Jean Ferry, illustrated by Claude Ballaré and translated by Edward Gauvin | November 30, 2013
The Conductor and Other Tales, by Jean Ferry, illustrated by Claude Ballaré and translated by Edward Gauvin, Wakefield Press, November 2013

First published in French in 1950 in a limited edition of 100 copies, then republished in 1953 (and enthusiastically praised by André Breton), The Conductor and Other Tales is Jean Ferry's only published book of fiction. It is a collection of short prose narratives that offer a blend of pataphysical humor and surreal nightmare: secret societies so secret that one cannot know if one is a member or not, music-hall acts that walk a tightrope from humor to horror, childhood memories of a man never born, and correspondence from countries that are more states of mind than geographical locales. Lying somewhere between Kafka's parables and the prose poems of Henri Michaux, Ferry's tales read like pages from the journal of a stranger in a familiar land. Though extracts have appeared regularly in Surrealist anthologies over the decades, The Conductor has never been fully translated into English until now. This edition includes four stories not included in the original French edition and is illustrated throughout with collages by Claude Ballaré.


Jean Ferry (1906-1974) made his living as a screenwriter for such filmmakers as Luis Buñuel and Louis Malle, cowriting such classics as Henri-Georges Clouzot's Le Quai des orfèvres and script-doctoring Marcel Carné's Les Enfants du paradis. He was the first serious scholar and exegete of the work of Raymond Roussel (on whom he published three books) and a member of the Collège de Pataphysique.

More info

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
Sign in or register to post comments.

More new titles

new titles

The Mausoleum of Lovers Journals 1976–1991

The long-awaited English-language translation of Hervé Guibert’s arresting journals kept from 1976–1991 forecasts the writing of a novel. "The Mausoleum of Lovers" sensual exigencies and forms of address often compared to Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse.
new titles

Beautiful Darkness

A grim young adult fantasy book about a community of fairies who come together in the aftermath of a tragedy. The watercolor artwork is alternatively dark and whimsical (executed by the husband/wife team Kerascoët) and the story by Fabien Vehlmann is a classical fantasy tale by way of The Borrowers and Lord of the Flies.
new titles

I Am Blop!

Welcome to the world of Blops! A Blop is a simple shape, somewhere between a flower and a butterfly or between a splodge and a drawing of a little man – above all Blop is whatever you want it to be.