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Collège de ’Pataphysique

The Collège de ’Pataphysique is a Paris-based society composed of artists and writers interested in the philosophy of “pataphysics,” which member Raymond Queneau has described as resting “on the truth of contradictions and exceptions.” The term was coined by Alfred Jarry and first appeared in print in the article “Guignol” in the 28 avril 1893 issue of L'Echo de Paris litteraire illustré. Works by the society’s members in the Rare Book Collection cover a wide range of subjects, from literature and philosophy to science, music and the fine arts; an irreverent sense of humor is part of all the society’s publications.

The significance of the apostrophe in their name is partially explained in an “order” dated 22 merdre 82: “only the word Pataphysics referring substantially and in conformity with the text of Jarry, to the Science of Imaginary Solutions as such, is entitled to the apostrophe. It is merely tolerated that in certain cases it be granted, ad convenientiam, that the substantive used in genere take the apostrophe; in most cases, it is better to refrain. The adjective does not take the apostrophe.” — The true, the good, the beautiful (1993), translated from the French by Andrew Hugill.