Life and Memoirs of Doctor Pi
and Other Stories
Edgar Bayley; translated by Emily Toder
published 2011 • 5 1/2" x 7 3/4" • 86 pages
ISBN 9781566568371 • paperback • $13.00 •
"The late Argentinean avant-gardist Bayley brings a poetic precision to the short-shorts of his first English translation. Most stories feature the urbane title character, a professor, would-be ladies' man, and sometime foil, whose philosophy is best summed up in the 110-word story, "The Charmer," which opens with "I say nothing, I think nothing..." and closes with "There is nothing but moments, a few small moments." An intellectual everyman brimming with curiosity, the doctor is frequently given to pearls of wisdom, as in "The Return": "There is no innocence where there is not love." Stories find him under waterfalls, boarding trains with highly watchable passengers, or descending mountains on his way to a date. Observations are often delightfully oblique, and the best escapades arrive unsaddled by a tidy message or punch-line surprise. Only a few stories run longer than a page; Bayley's fictions are tantalizing vignettes, amusing and often absurd, and readers will likely feel a pleasant nostalgia for the elegant humor of a bygone age."
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The first English translation of a major Argentine literary figure
Doctor Pi—a sleuth without a crime. A flâneur on official business. Organizer of unknowable expeditions, lover of brunettes. Doctor Pi, with his frock coat, top hat, and uncommon blend of elation and discretion, is difficult to describe and impossible not to pursue. We follow him through a familiar and cryptic world, whose logic—equal parts comedy, poetry, and absurdity—is a puzzle only Doctor Pi can solve. The Life and Memoirs of Doctor Pi and Other Stories marks the first translation of Edgar Bayley’s work into English, an accomplishment long overdue. Bayley’s stories suspend your disbelief for you, and offer in exchange an inimitable creation: its dimensions human, its intrigue transcendent.
Born in 1919 in Buenos Aires, Edgar Bayley was an active and inﬂuential participant in avant-garde Argentine poetry, a major ﬁgure in its literary magazines and institutions throughout the latter half of the last century, and among the founders of the invencionista movement. Poet, playwright, director, translator, and essayist, he is the author of over ﬁfteen published works in diverse genres.
Emily Toder is a poet, translator, and letterpress printer. She holds Master's degrees in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and in literary translation from the University of East Anglia, UK, and the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain. She currently resides in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she operates Nor By Press and studies library science.
“We cannot help but throw ourselves in the footprints of Doctor Pi”
“There is an Argentine poetry before Bayley, and another after him”
"The Life & Memoirs of Dr. Pi and Other Stories is a fantastic translation and a rollicking good read. ...Bayley is a master of word economy and concision, and it is breathtaking to watch him establish scene and advance plot in so little space."
—Big Muddy, 2011, Volume 11.1
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