An Archive of Human Nonsense

by Jason Rolfe

14639841_1291490804204243_3971675242789998160_nAlong the tavern’s back wall he found a small writing desk, around which the floor was stained ink-black and littered with loose scraps of paper. Atop the desk he found a small stack of handwritten newsletters entitled The Archive of Human Nonsense. He picked one up. It was dated 17 April, 1817 – eight months previous – and had been hand-penned in German running script. From front to back the small newsletter was eight pages long. It opened with a list of names, twenty-two in all, and closed with a watercolour picture of a giant red rooster…

Thus begins an existential journey through Vienna’s streets and one man’s guilt-laden memories. From mountebanks, puppet showmen, and trainers of performing monkeys, to the strange Mechanical Theatre of Sebastian von Schwenenfeld the journey becomes a quest not to find meaning but to define it.

An Archive of Human Nonsense will be published as a Snuggly Slim by Snuggly Books soon. In the meantime, check out their website. Their catalogue contains works by contemporary writers such as Brendan Connell, Justin Isis, David Rix, Kristine Ong Muslim, Yarrow Paisley and Quentin S. Crisp – and excellent translations of Léon Bloy and Jean Lorrain by the very talented Brian Stableford.