The Transfiguration of Mister Punch


I have just received my purchased copy of the above wonderful-looking book: ‘The Transfiguration of Mister Punch’.

Egaeus Press MCMXIII (published 100 years ago)

It contains three novellas by Charles Schneider (plus a postcard by this author), D.P. Watt and Cate Gardner.

Plus ‘A Brief Preamble’ by Mark Beech: the editor and publisher of possibly the greatest small press magazine of the 1990s: Psychotrope.

I intend to carry out a real-time review of this book in due course.

This review will be shown in the comment stream below as and when I read this book:

8 thoughts on “The Transfiguration of Mister Punch

  1. The Show That Must Never Die – Charles Schneider
    Pages 13 – 22
    “I wil not be offended should you choose to fill in my blanks, scratch words between my own. Go on, make notes, irate comments and doodle away upon the slender borders next to my words.”
    …as I always do when carrying out my gestalt real-time reviews (as I did previously for this very author here) – and now his rich textured prose style becomes a puckishly interactive showman introducing us semi-fictionally to the Punch and Judy Show of my own seaside childhood. An English ‘national institution’. And more.
    Plus I foresee photographs (by Douglas Hooper) and apparently unattributed inner illustrations…
    An auspicious start…

  2. Pages 22 – 24
    “Do you know of the legend of the Lincoln Imp?”
    Yes, I do, Mr Schneider, and have seen it in the flesh in Lincoln Cathedral. Your engaging ‘synchronised shards of random truth, fiction and chewing gum’ with regard to the Imp evokes an intriguing interface with Mr Punch. I sense this is more than just semi-fiction. It’s more idiosyncratically personal anecdotes, in a wonderful style of language, regarding the TRUTH of your subject, the subject of this whole book. Mr Punch’s ultimate transfiguration by literature. But we shall see.

  3. Pages 24 – 34
    “…such wonders I see, octopi fireworks, such stained glass anemone, such pearlescent plums screaming blue.”
    Mr Schneider, I pencil in the margin that this is not a novella as I originally assumed; it is something quite else: a mindfilled wildscript picaresque travelling of the connections (personal and historic) that make the gestalt grotesquerie that is Mister Punch and his concomitant Puppetry … as my reviews create their own gestalts, too, perhaps. I cannot cover all the inspiring angles (and I shall henceforth lengthen the sections which I review in piecemeal retrospect)… but here in this section, inter alia, there are books, real books as friends, and carving…woods not words…

    “The finest of all woods to use when carving Punch is Willow.”

  4. Pages 34 – 51
    “The author is not responsible for any delusions, episodes or imprisonment in green, enchanted realms…”
    Now I’m entering a more fiction frame of mind that this is a novella after all rather than an entrancing documentary. But perhaps it is neither fiction or fact! – as I learn of the beginnings of Mister Punch and the narrator’s or author’s beginnings with Mister Punch, whereby (and this is my idea, not necessarily the narrator’s or writer’s) that Puppetry is a counterpoint to Puberty.
    Man a fused hand-pocket or finger-string counterpart of Manual. This section is also a Picciniesque, a Durante’s Nose, a Dunsany wood.

  5. Pages 51 – 70
    “I see Him in the tree,”
    I see Him, too, in the book’s words as a shape of whiteness between the letters, in the quotes given from old books, in the pictures shown here, and in the Divinity and in the Flesh. Not a series of Russian Dolls, but man within puppet within man within puppet …
    This is what I felt as I read and looked at this intriguing section of merging connections of primary source, story, hearsay, inferred truth and legend into the gestalt that still continues to become Mister Punch as He in turn rises again within a new gestalt.

  6. Pages 70 – 83
    “In the beginning was The Swazzle, and the Swazzle was with Punch.”
    Mister Schneider, whether you are Mister Punch yourself, or I am, or some other reader is, or each one of us is, or others subject to ‘The Transfiguration of Judy’ are, or we are all bits of, say, the chipped paint off the exterior of Puppetry itself, or we are the spaces within it, whether all this or more, YOU and YOU alone so far have managed to convey, in this wonderful Novelty, not only the Transfiguration but also the Transcendence of this Tradition that I ‘enjoyed’ as a child in the form of Punch & Judy, be that Transcendence geomantic, lunar, thaumaturgical, archetypal in a Jungian sense, literarily-literally symbiotic or something else even more powerful that will only become clear as we dwell on the still fusing connections. Congratulations. I like your style. That’s the way to do it.

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