La croisade des enfants

Faustroll’s many departures from the conventions of nineteenth-century novels include Jarry’s persistent invocation of living writers and artists. Among the works Jarry draws attention to are Emile Verhaeren’s Les campagnes hallucinées, Bonnard’s poster for La revue blanche, and La croisade des enfants by the author who championed his early career, Marcel Schwob. Real scientists of the day—those prone to bizarre theories, at least— are also invoked and interwoven with explanations of pataphysics, Jarry’s “science of imaginary solutions.” In addition to the specter of Lord Kelvin, the physicist C. V. Boys looms large. Jarry used ideas from Boys’s 1890 book on soap bubbles to explain why Faustroll’s copper mesh bed was seaworthy.

Marcel Schwob (1867–1905), La croisade des enfants. Cover illustration by Maurice Delcourt (Paris: Mercure de France, 1896). The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased on the Gordon N. Ray Fund, 2019. PML 198234.