While Harold Jaffe’s writing has been dubbed “literary terrorism” by numerous critics (and even his own publishers), one would find it difficult to categorize Induced Coma: 50 and 100 Word Stories, his most recent volume of docufiction, as terroristic. Rather, Jaffe’s meticulous deconstructions of mainstream “news” articles and various other online and print sources demonstrate the consciousness of an artist who is struggling with, as he calls it, “writing in a dying world.”
Revolutionary Brain by Harold Jaffe
Release date: December 6, 2012, distributed by Ingram
Trade paperback: 252 pages, 7.5×9.25, $13.95, ISBN: 978-1-935738-32-9
Publicist: Jaym Gates, firstname.lastname@example.org
Guide Dog Books is proud to announce the release of Harold Jaffe’s Revolutionary Brain, a collection of essays and quasi-essays from one of our most brilliantly innovative provocateurs. Known for his unique style of “docufiction” and “literary terrorism,” Jaffe has made a career out of exposing the latent realities embedded in our media-saturated consciousness, not just in the US but globally. In Revolutionary Brain, he takes his cue from theorist Julia Kristeva, as he demonstrates how we revel in — and ultimately worship — our chronic state of cultural abjection, which increasingly spirals out of control as we plunge ever further into the realm of (dis)information and simulation.
Revolutionary Brain harnesses its critical and creative energy from an extraordinary variety of sources and artifacts, including ethnocide, activist art, popular film, ethical sacrifice, legislated porn, enraged elephants, and electronic hubris. It will appeal to a wide readership, theorizing with the broad erudition of Baudrillard, Žižek and Virilio while entertaining with the eclectic comedy of Coover, Roth, and Barthelme.
From the Back of the Book
In this timely collection of essays and “quasi-essays,” acclaimed novelist and critic Harold Jaffe explores the maddening chord changes of millennial culture. Gesturing, in a philosophical shorthand, toward a kind of pop Armageddon, Revolutionary Brain is at once thesis, allegory, and surreal comedy, demonstrating just how far we, and the natural world we have debauched, have fallen. Obsessed with technology, we are incapable of reconstructing ourselves. By way of Jaffe’s elegant prose and perfect pitch, our collective disability is laid bare at the 11th hour. Revolutionary Brain is a powerful cry for a brave new aesthetics that turns towards, not away, from our tormented globe.
About the Author
Harold Jaffe is the author of 20 volumes of fiction, “docufiction,” novels and essays. His writings have been anthologized widely, translated into numerous languages, and the recipient of several awards. Jaffe is editor of Fiction International and Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at San Diego State University.
Advance Praise for Revolutionary Brain
“I was transfixed in this volume by Jaffe’s incisive blows to the hypocrisy of flag waving, nation building, and the lethal intent by our leaders who stride the globe in bloody boots commanding the 99 percent to obey the law and get to work in the marketplace of nightmarish dreams. Jaffe has missed absolutely nothing in delineating our expiring Kultur. Brilliant.”
–REGINA KRUMMEL, editor of Prison Poetry by Shackled Women: The Gates Clang Shut
“The bravura essays in Harold Jaffe’s collection, Revolutionary Brain, challenge the conscience and consciousness of their readers. This witty and explosive book is an indictment of injustice and spurious morality and a call to art and enlightened activism as healing alternatives.”
–JONATHAN BAUMBACH, author of You: Or the Invention of Memory
“Brainy and groovy, thoughtful and post-literary, these essays on contemporary media madness are Jaffe at his best: poignant, inventive, right between the eyes of corporate culture.”
–ELOY FERNÁNDEZ PORTA, author of Emocionese asi
About the Publisher
The nonfiction syndicate of Raw Dog Screaming Press, Guide Dog Books publishes innovative, avant-garde books on a range of subjects, including literary criticism, cultural theory, media studies, letters from the opposition, experimental forms, biography, urbanism, philosophy, political manifestos, creative and popular nonfiction, and especially work that engages pop culture and its vicissitudes. Visit the publisher at www.guidedogbooks.com and www.rawdogscreaming.com.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
7:00pm Scanlon Banquet Hall B & C
Westfield State University
Harold Jaffe’s innovative fiction, non-fiction, and docu-fiction, deal with under-represented voices and perspectives in the American cultural fabric, such as death row prison inmates, political anarchists, and other unusual points of view. He has devoted his career to “mixing things up.” Even if audiences don’t always agree with his point of view, they appreciate his literary tactics and bravado, and his devotion to his cause.
Harold Jaffe is the author of 19 books, including Anti-Twitter: 150 50-Word Stories, Jesus Coyote, Terror-Dot-Gov, 15 Serial Killers, and Sex for the Millennium. Jaffe’s fiction has appeared in such journals as Mississippi Review, City Lights Review and Paris Review. He has won two NEA grants in fiction, two Fulbright fellowships and three Pushcart Prizes in fiction, among others. Jaffe teaches writing and literature at San Diego State University and is editor of the venerable literary journal, Fiction International.
Seems my docufiction “Death in Texas” (you can read it here) is receiving attention – in Texas. Texas Tech University’s New Border has published an interview with me in their latest issue, and also reprinted the docufiction.
What I can say is that I continue to write situationally. When in the late ’80s and ’90s the AIDS propaganda was targeting gay males and poor people of color, and sexuality was declared off-limits, I wrote Eros Anti-Eros, Straight Razor, and Sex for the Millennium. When, after 9/11, the US launched its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I wrote Terror-dot-Gov and False Positive. When the Internet, smart phones, and online social media became obsessive, I wrote Beyond the Techno-Cave and Anti-Twitter. In each instance, I’ve written subversively, teasing out the subtexts of official propaganda which I satirize or pastiche.
In other volumes (Mourning Crazy Horse, Othello Blues, and Mole’s Pity), I’ve tried to give voice to the variously oppressed: political prisoners, those accounted psychotic, the homeless; that is, to see the officially objectified– or made-invisible — from the subject position.
With 15 Serial Killers, I wanted to call attention to how the culture misrepresents extreme transgression both to condemn it and consume it. Find me a time day or night when there isn’t a commercial-laden TV broadcast about sharks, “terrorists” or serial killers.
- Did Texas execute yet another innocent man? (intrepidreport.com)
- TEXAS- Most Texas Voters Still in Favor of the Death Penalty (claimyourinnocence.wordpress.com)
- Revolution Post-Mill (armageddonbuffet.wordpress.com)
- Weep, I say (haroldjaffe.wordpress.com)
During SDSU’s Spring Break I traveled to New York to present two readings.
For the first reading at Word Up Community Bookstore (labeled “Crisis Art”), I read my Crisis Art manifesto and “Anal Acrobats” from my essay volume in progress, Death in Texas.
For the next reading at Le Chéile (labeled “Story anti-Story”), I read “Lady Day,” from OD, along with texts from Anti-Twitter and Paris 60.
Both readings were performed with Patricia Eakins, author of The Hungry Girls and Other Stories and The Marvelous Adventures of Pierre Baptiste.
The audience response was enthusiastic in each venue.
Gary Lain published a strong review of OD in The Brooklyn Rail. An excerpt:
Jaffe’s new collection is rendered with great literary skill and ingenuity; it’s also a deeply compassionate, funny, readable, and insightful look at important and influential cultural figures who sought refuge, solace, and finally escape through drugs. Never moralistic but deeply moral, OD shows us the men and women behind the mask, returning them to us as part of our own cultural legacy.
Recently I gave an interview to Gina Jacobs about OD, which became an article published in the San Diego State University magazine March 5.
March also marks the beginning of my mini-book tour for OD, sandwiched into SDSU’s Spring Break, when I will do a few readings and book signings in NYC. If you live in the area, I welcome you to either of these venues.
I will read at two Washington Heights, Manhattan bookstores. At Word Up Community Bookshop on Saturday March 24, 7 PM, I will use OD and my other writings to address the theme “crisis art.” At Le Chéile on Tuesday March 27, 8 pm, the theme will be “Story Anti-Story.” I will give both readings with writer Patricia Eakins.
My publisher, JEF Press, is sending me postcards featuring the new cover of OD. I will pass one on to you if you want one. Just comment here with your snail mail address.
OD will also soon be for sale on Powells.com, B&N.com, and Amazon.com – and on the Journal for Experimental Fiction website.
OD, previously scheduled to be published this month, will be out within a month or so. It will be published by JEF Press (Journal of Experimental Fiction, which previously published The Literary Terrorism of Harold Jaffe in 2004), with cover art by Norman Conquest.
A curious thing happened. The publication of OD was to happen January, 2012, but has been delayed. Eckhard Gerdes, writer and editor of Journal of Experimental Fiction, is going to re-format and publish post-haste under JEF Press.
Derek Pell will do the cover.
The delay in publication is over, thankfully, because I had several advanced sales arranged.