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Published for the first time in a low cost edition, Maurice Richardson's cult classic is one of the strangest works of fiction ever written. Fifteen stories that relate the activities of the Surrealist Sportsman's Club, a society with very dubious morals that spends the time it has left between the collapse of the moon and the end of the universe taking the concept of thePublished for the first time in a low cost edition, Maurice Richardson's cult classic is one of the strangest works of fiction ever written. Fifteen stories that relate the activities of the Surrealist Sportsman's Club, a society with very dubious morals that spends the time it has left between the collapse of the moon and the end of the universe taking the concept of the 'game' to its logical limit. A club can't operate without members, and those of the SSC are as strange and astonishing as some of the events they compete in. Most formidable of all, and more than just a little sinister, is the old Id, an "elemental force" who thinks nothing of venturing forth from his home at Nightmare Abbey to arrange a rugby match between Mars and the entire human race, or of playing chess with boy scouts and nuclear bombs as pieces. Centre stage, however, is given to Engelbrecht himself, the dwarf boxer. Surrealist boxers don't take on human opponents, but "do most of their fighting with clocks." Engelbrecht has his fair share of those and even bests a malign Grandfather Clock in a match where years rather than money is at stake, but his talents are also called upon to help him deal with almost the whole spectrum of Gothic, electric and purely impossible threats in a style both charming and ferocious. He's an eternal optimist and it's his pluck and spirit, rather than his fists or footwork, which generally make the greatest contribution to the precarious well-being of his club. The tone of these adventures is a curious blend of Gothic and science fiction, but an avant-garde Gothic and an absurdist SF, a voice which simultaneously lampoons much of the atmosphere found in novels of the past and future while making a genuine contribution to both kinds. Richardson has placed his tongue firmly in his cheek, true, but then he has proceeded to bite it off with molars sharpened on the grindstones of profundity... “The Exploits of Engelbrecht is English surrealism at its greatest. Witty and fantastical, Maurice Richardson was light years ahead of his time. Unmissable.” - J.G. Ballard...

Title : the exploits of engelbrecht
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ISBN : 22664476
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 105 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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the exploits of engelbrecht Reviews

  • Rhys
    2019-11-17 06:58

    I love this book so much I wrote my own sequel...Maurice Richardson is the great lost master of comic fantasy, perhaps the single finest exponent of the art since James Branch Cabell. Although he wrote little fiction, he didn't really need to. With this one title he invented the slyest and driest Gothic world yet seen. Richardson was one of the most original talents of any age of imaginative writing, and his neglect is baffling. Maybe not: the sheer difficulty of obtaining a copy of The Exploits of Engelbrecht has previously ensured that his name is as obscure as his achievements. It took me seven years to track the book down, and I ended up paying £30 for a very battered original.I first learned of Richardson's existence in the Michael Moorcock article 'Starship Stormtroopers', included in his collection The Opium General (1984). What riveted my attention was Moorcock's claim that the ideas in Richardson's work were even wilder and more concise than those in the fiction of Borges. I considered this improbable, but planned to judge for myself if I ever got the chance. Moorcock kept writing about Richardson. In his reference work, Wizardry and Wild Romance (1987), the Engelbrecht adventures are cited as an "antidote" to the clichés of Epic Fantasy. Back in 1993, I even managed a brief chat on this point with Moorcock in the Cardiff branch of Waterstone's. He expressed some doubts that Richardson would ever win the reputation he deserved.The Exploits of Engelbrecht is a slim volume but one so rich in humour and imagination and wordplay that it seems a much thicker tome. Like Milorad Pavic and Italo Calvino, Richardson is essentially a generous writer. He wants to give you everything and not waste your time in doing so. Fifteen short 'chapters' which also work as stand-alone stories relate the activities of the Surrealist Sportsman's Club, a society of very dubious morals which spends the time it has left between the collapse of the moon and the end of the universe taking the concept of the 'game' to its logical limit. A club can't operate without members, and those of the SSC are as strange and astonishing as some of the events they compete in. Most formidable of all, and more than just a little sinister, is the old Id, an "elemental force" who thinks nothing of venturing forth from his home at Nightmare Abbey to arrange a rugby match between Mars and the entire human race, or of playing chess with boy scouts and nuclear bombs as pieces. Other regulars include little Charlie Wapentake, Nodder Forthergill, Willy Warlock, Badger Norridge, Salvador Dali, Bones Barlow, Monkey Trevelyan and Lizard Bayliss, the only member not to fall in love with an animal, vegetable, mineral or abstract each time Spring arrives.Centre stage, however, is given to Engelbrecht himself, the dwarf boxer. Surrealist boxers don't take on human opponents, but "do most of their fighting with clocks." Engelbrecht has his fair share of those and even bests a malign Grandfather Clock in a match where years rather than money is at stake, but his talents are also called upon to help him deal with almost the whole spectrum of Gothic, electric and purely impossible threats in a style both charming and ferocious. He's an eternal optimist and it's his pluck and spirit, rather than his fists or footwork, which generally make the greatest contribution to the precarious well-being of his club. Not that all his enemies are outside the society. Some are his friends, for instance Chippy de Zoete, the resident "fixer" and general bad-egg whose whimsical charm and indefatigability, qualities he shares with the dwarf, only partly redeem the malevolence of his schemes. Tommy Prenderghast is another dodgy member, though when he tries to outwit the old Id by setting fire to Gallows Wood during the Night of the Walpurgis Witch Shoot, he instantly meets his match. The ancient laws of the Shoot prohibit the use of artificial light, which explains why so much "game" gets away from the "Nightmare coverts."The tone of all these adventures is a curious blend of Gothic and science fiction, but an avant-garde Gothic and an absurdist SF, a voice which simultaneously lampoons much of the atmosphere found in novels of the past and future while making a genuine contribution to both kinds. Richardson has placed his tongue firmly in his cheek, true, but then he has proceeded to bite it off with molars sharpened on the grindstones of profundity. There are messages about optimism and anti-cynicism here, but they are inherent in the spirit of the stories rather than spelled out in the text. The book delivers what many visionaries only advocate, acting like a tonic on the reader. Having said that, there is a sense of unease lurking behind a few of the exploits which makes the resulting exuberance feel like guilty pleasure. The Id is a cosmicomic tyrant and his methods can be inarguably black. Shouting to himself in the Silence Room at the clubhouse is the least of it. Hunting politicians and judges with hounds and ghouls is eminently forgivable, but what about shooting players for the crime of fumbling a ball or feasting on pickled organs from the Royal College of Surgeons' Museum? But that's the point of the Id, who prefers rules to morals, and bending those rules when a grand wheeze requires it. Engelbrecht is the only one you might care to trust with your life, though not your mind.For those who can find only a sour taste in the blood, sweat and wormcasts of contact sports, there's always the refuge of high culture. Try a night at the Plant Theatre. But there are hazards here as well. An attempt by the New Forest to perform King Lear has already lasted for 5000 years and the final scene still isn't in sight. The problem is that "Plant Drama is apt to be a bit slow... even a relatively fast worker like mistletoe, convolvulus, or bamboo, playing in a light Coward type comedy, can take three months over a proposal..." And Dog's Opera isn't much safer, not with Chippy de Zoete's bag of cats. As for politics and romance, Engelbrecht's canvassing and winning of the spare seat in the Monkslust constituency is achieved at the cost of returning civilisation to the Stone Age, while his efforts to elope with a cuckoo clock have dire consequences for poor Badger Norridge when it strikes twelve and releases not a cuckoo but a pterodactyl.A few of the jokes to be found within the pages of this remarkable volume are more than merely absurd or clever: they are revelatory. And despite their often abstract nature, they can be amazingly visual. This is a cult book and one to be cherished by all lovers of the truly bizarre. It's not really for those who like their gods to stay nameless, nor for those who believe they can preserve their sanity with escapism. But the discerning reader will find more than enough dark pearls to outweigh any lost marbles.

  • Adam
    2019-11-19 07:52

    This super hard to find book is an absolute classic of comic writing, surrealism, and concentrated non-stop invention. While a lot of surrealist writing has a limited appeal this like Leonora Carrington’s Hearing Trumpet should appeal to the proverbial 8-80 year old. Everyone should have copy. It’s a collection of short stories about Englebrecht and his fellows at the surrealist sporting club. Each of their sports turn into a hallucinatory adventure that threatens logic and the members own lives. These stories combine gothic and science fiction touches with wild theatricality. Totally whacked in the head silliness presented with tone that enables dark undercurrents to mix with comic antics, (Satirizing witch hunts and the cold war among other things) This book should be considered with Peake’s Gormenghast books, Flan O’brien’s The Third Policeman, and Vian’s wild romps for mastering this combination.(these are about the only books of its era or even now that are even vaguely similar). This book’s influence is seen in Michael Moorcock’s Dancers at the End of Time(Moorcock being a longtime champion of this book), Rhys Hughes’s wild fictions(he apparently has written a sequel that I would love to find), and J.G. Ballard is also a fan (Ballard’s surrealism is more obsessive and bleak than Richardson’s, but his Vermillion Sands collection is similarly playful). The James Boswell(not that one) illustrations are absolutely amazing, parodying Bosch,Dore, Fuselli, Blake , and others. Happy hunting for this one.

  • Karl
    2019-10-28 00:56

    I have been wanting to read this book ever since I read the sequel "Engelbrect Again" written by Rhys Hughes a number of years ago. And nothing could beat his eloquent review of this book so I would not even try to do so, he sais it all. Please read it.Well, I was finally ably to purchase a copy of the hardcover from Savoy Books published in 2000. The book is filled with over 50 beautiful and fascinating illustrations. There is an Afterword from Michael Moorcock where he states he purchased most of the 1977 print run from John Conquest just to give to his friends. This edition also has an extra story.On the back cover is a quote by J.G. Ballard "The Exploits of Engelbrecht is English Surrealism at it's greatest. Witty and fantastical Maurice Richardson was light years ahead of his time. Unmissable"Now all I can say is WOW. What a zany, loony, crazy, bunch of stories. Considering this book was first published in 1950, I have to wonder why it has not impacted the counter culture as Hunter S. Thompson did with his "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" because you've got your ether guzzling - blood drinking - cocaine snorting - clock fighting - denizens of the insane taking on every sport know to man - from Witch shooting to cricket to adventure after adventure until you yourself almost die from laughing. What a clever and insane book this is. I don't know how I went this far in life without it.

  • Michael Seidlinger
    2019-10-23 06:43

    I give this book 1 star, but only because I CAN'T READ IT. It's so rare NO ONE can get a hold of it. Hopefully Savoy Books, or whoever possesses the rights to do so, will get off their ass and get it done.As protest, my 1-star rating will stand. I will retract it the moment confirmation of a rerelease is in order.

  • Charles Dee Mitchell
    2019-11-11 02:40

    Engelbrecht is a dwarf surrealist boxer. Surrealist boxers, as a rule, only fight clocks, and, in one of his exploits, Engelbrecht does indeed enter the ring with a grandfather clock. But his exploits are not limited to boxing. Engelbrecht is a member in good standing with the Surrealist Sportsman Club. There, along with his cohorts Charlie Wapentake, Tommy Prenderghast, Nodder Fothergill, his manager Lizard Bayliss, and others he takes part in a panoply of sporting and social activities, all played out in the surrealist vein. Surrealist sports differ from regular sports chiefly in the vast amounts of time and territory they require and the possible body count. In Surrealist Golf, play may last for years and cover continents. Par on the first hole is 818,181. Surrealist Chess is played for keeps with living pawns, knights, bishops, etc. Surrealist Cricket, on the other hand, struck me as neither more nor less baffling that its real-world equivalent. Maurice Richardson published his Engelbrecht stories in a limited edition in 1950. There was a reprint of sorts in 1970, but both small editions guaranteed obscurity and cult status. The book is now available as an e-book, a format that may see it gain some of the audience it deserves.

  • zxvasdf
    2019-11-12 01:39

    The Surrealist Sportsmen are a group of near immortals whose eon lasting sporting events tax the mind and spirit so much that its members relinquish the sweet gift of consciousness using as many toxic intoxicants as often as they can.Truth be told, reading the first two stories, I wasn't sold on the hype. Yes, it was puns galore surreal but was muted, pale in comparison to the forthcoming stories. My reasoning is... it's like a high, it comes in nice and slow, to get you accustomed to the way of things, then whoosh, you're suddenly rising on a column of white noise! Engelbrecht that indomitable dwarf! How he throws himself heart and soul into these mad escapades! Containing enough spirit for a hundred men, the adventures of Engelbrecht, as narrated by our ever observant A.N. Other, are read in a vein similar to Wodehouse's Jeeves stories.My favorite story is THE DAY WE PLAYED MARS which recounts a football match against the denizens of Mars. Almost each story in the collection is accompanied by the drawings of James Boswell using the styles of many accomplished artists, and this story also has my favorite of the lot. You see two British looking footballers gliding with balletic grace across the barren landscape of Mars. Your eyes wander to this river looking thing curling in from the bottom left, and you go oh my God, it's the Surrealist Sportsmen! Indeed they are, the tiny fellows up against the giants of Mars in an impossible game in which Engelbrecht takes back the day! I'm convinced that if not for this book, Moorcock's Multiverse wouldn't the same. Engelbrecht's simian features reminds me of Jerry Cornelius, and dedication page is addressed to one Oonagh, which happens to be a significant character of Moorcock's worlds. The Second Ether stories resemble A QUIET GAME OF CHESS. The overall ideas of unrestrained immortals with a currency of Time smacks of THE DANCERS AT THE END OF TIME. Perhaps Pynchon had a bite at Engelbrecht's line, due to his interesting usage of character names.The Exploits of Engelbrecht does live up to the hype.

  • Wreade1872
    2019-11-09 07:59

    Surreal comedy. Sort of like a mix of 'Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas' with the 'Adventures of Baron Munchausen'. Its presented as a sequence of short stories covering various events such as a boxing match against a grandfather clock, a play preformed by plants, a football match against Mars etc.Its quite funny and does manage to hold the attention unlike many other surreal or tall tale stories. Each section is just long enough so the absurdity doesn't have time to get old and each is presented like a real event except for the extraordinary Things which are doing it. So for example the sports stories are all told with a good sports commentary impression. This keeps things from becoming too surreal, which is something i hate. If you go full surreal and have no grounding element then there's simply no sense of stakes and it becomes boring. I did have a few problems understanding parts of it, the cricket and horseracing in particular, probably as these are not sports i know very well.I have a feeling if any of the sections (or the book as a whole) was longer the novelty would have worn off along with the entertainment value but as it stands quite enjoyable.The ebook version doesn't have any drawings i'll have to search about on the net and see what i'm missing.

  • Vit Babenco
    2019-10-28 23:34

    Obviously The Exploits of Engelbrecht is modeled on The Pickwick Papers but the gentlemanly disporting is transferred onto a surreal plane. “There is an expression of dreamy bliss on the dwarf’s rubbery mug… He’s going to elope with Grandfather Clock’s grand-daughter, Cuckoo” – that’s the sort of frolics the main hero is up to.“Nitzy Nusselbaum, you should know, is a nonagenarian cripple with such a complicated surgical history that it’s whispered in the Dressing Rooms that when he goes to bed at night he unscrews his navel and his bottom drops off” – and that’s the sort of characters residing on the pages of the book.So misadventures of Engelbrecht, the surrealist boxer, are rather a caricature than literature.

  • Chas
    2019-11-21 03:51

    Originally printed in Lilliput magazine in the '40s, these stories of Engelbrecht, the Dwarf Surrealist Boxer are quite an oddity, and a fine antidote to anyone exhausted by generic fantasy. "The Night of the Big Witch Shoot" and "The Day We Played Mars" are particularly good, and the vision of the Second World War as a giant chess game in "A Quiet Game of Chess" makes clear how confusing the years directly after the war must have been. These stories were printed in book form in a small run by Phoenix House in 1950, printed again in 1978, and then twice by Savoy, in 2000 and earlier this year, both in exceedingly small print runs. It's a shame this book is so difficult to find, as it's quite clear from reading these stories why noted authors like JG Ballard and Michael Moorcock were so impressed with Maurice Richardson and Engelbrecht.

  • Kyle Muntz
    2019-11-08 06:40

    This book is a masterpiece of surrealism, comedy, and imaginative fiction in general. Engelbrecht is my new hero.

  • D-day
    2019-11-14 23:33

    Tales of Surrealist boxer Engelbrecht, are indeed quite surreal. A little bit of this style of story goes a long ways, but each individual story is short, so I would read a story or two every couple of days. All of the stories are absurd (as in irrational) and some are quite clever. I read the e-book edition, my understanding is that the original editions were illustrated, which I imagine would increase one’s enjoyment of the stories as they have great ‘visuals’ as it were. Ultimately these stories, although fun in small doses, are not for anyone looking for plot or characterization, just zaniness and some social commentary on the sly.

  • Mkfs
    2019-10-27 01:49

    Strangely formulaic, but enjoyable nonetheless. The Surrealist Sportsman's Club whiles away the mind, wagering years on the outcome of cosmological bouts of various gentleman's sport, clinging tightly to the priceless gift of consciousness which distinguishes us from the beasts.

  • Tom
    2019-11-21 01:54

    Hilariously odd tall tales