Plague Theatre

Forthcoming at Equus Press.


“Imagine W. G. Sebald and Italo Calvino collaborated to write an autodecaying mystery on the possibilities of something definitive happening in Scarborough, in London, in Caligari, in Marseille, in Camus’ Oran, in anyplace at anytime, and you’ll have some idea of the brilliant, dramaturgically-infused vision of abstracted pestilence that is Plague Theatre. Part phantom exegesis, part metafictional Klein bottle, Ansgar Allen has written a novel about writing, a text about the exhilarating dangers of repetition and of continuity as obsession, as Yersinia pestis. With Artaud’s “Theatre and the Plague” and Defoe’s Journal of the Plague Year as scrambled guidebooks to its multiplicious and provisional somewhere, the reader is left to bob, delirious, like driftwood in the sibylline and necrotic sludge of our stubbornly inconclusive histories. Artaud considered the plague, like theatre, to be “a crisis resolved either by death or cure,” but here we are offered a third way, a non-direction, a resilient sickness, a resolution resistant to completion till the very end (and there is no end).” — Gary J. Shipley