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Cluster index: Paul Cohen

‘A greater writer than in fact he ever became…’?

Paul Cohen: ‘In our increasingly specialized world, where the sum of human knowledge has grown so prodigiously, our polymaths no longer have the range of Leonardo da Vinci, Athanasius Kircher, and Benjamin Franklin. We still, however, find the occasional figure such as semiotician-anthropologist-novelist Umberto Eco, chemist-novelist-playwright Carl Djerassi, and painter-writer-composer Tom Phillips. Gourmont, though, was not only one of these, but also a man who deliberately abandoned intellectual consistency for the excitement of the free play of ideas.’

A pataphysical education.

Paul Cohen: ”Pataphysics presents a challenge to reality, most characteristically, though not always, carried out through humor. Unfortunately, as Andrew Hugill notes in his new book on the subject, “the word is often used quite loosely to invoke anything that seems wacky, weird, or bizarrely incomprehensible,” much as the word “surreal” is often used to refer to anything strange.’