Sunday, March 31, 2019

Recent (Re-)Publications by Michael Butterworth

Michael Butterworth

Carter Kaplan has asked me to convey some words about a few recent publications on behalf of International Authors and Null23, which have collaborated to publish two new books by Michael Butterworth: Butterworth and My Servant the Wind.

I first became aware of Michael upon reading his contribution to the very first Emanations anthology way back in 2011, a short story titled "Das Neue Leben," whose opening line read as follows: "He stood five feet eight, and the anaconda, not yet full grown, slightly longer than that." Talk about a hook! I liked the story immensely and told Michael he should turn it into a novel. That hasn't happened yet, but we do now have other things by him to read.

Let's see what Carter (or is it Gareth Jackson?) says about these other writings:
Butterworth presents the collected short works [including "Das Neue Leben"] of the author Michael Butterworth - previously found in long-out-of-print anthology paperbacks and yellowing magazines such as New Worlds and other offshoots submerged by the accumulation of time, and which have been mostly lost and overshadowed by his later "Ecker" infamy as the co-publisher of the Northern provocateurs Savoy Books . . . These works are often located in a post-atomic wasteland of haunted deserts, conjoined with a dislocated Manchester of memory - being speculative fictions with veins of autobiography. The page becomes a structural space in which narrative is dismembered and arranged. Place becomes uncertain and hallucination is explored with thoughtful rigour. Neither of the future nor of then, these are works which occupy an era but conversely exist outside of any catalogued time.

My Servant the Wind: Navigating his story, there is nothing linear; autobiography becomes speculative memoir that crosses into fiction. In alien contacts the geography of the page disintegrates and time has become uncertain, located neither here nor there. The wind is blowing from the future deserts which he remembers from his youth. He is haunted by himself and memories of the apocalypse. He has travelled through new worlds and wild turbulence, protracted labour - a difficult birth. The wind blows a novel against his receiver and he transcribes . . .
Carter (Jackson?) also offers a bio of the man:
Michael Butterworth is a UK author, publisher and editor. He was a key part of the UK New Wave of Science Fiction in the 1960s, contributing fiction to New Worlds and other publications. He began publishing small press literary magazines, including Corridor in 1969, and in 1975 founded Savoy Books with David Britton. He co-authored Britton's controversial novel Lord Horror (1989), and in 2009 launched the contemporary visual art and writing journal, Corridor8. His last book was a memoir, The Blue Monday Diaries: In the Studio with New Order (2016). He is a regular contributor to Emanations.
Descriptions of the new books as well as links to respective Amazon sales pages can be found at the International Authors website:

International Authors

Here are links to Amazon, UK:


My Servant the Wind



At 5:53 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Thanks for posting this, Jeffery.

Michael Butterworth's new books represent sophisticated developments progressing from the formalist experiments of J.G. Ballard and William S. Burroughs. There is much material here for considering modern/contemporary British literature, trans-Atlantic literary communities, the effort we call "avant-garde", and linguistic investigation (and when I mention linguistics here I am thinking especially of an "analytic philosophy" perspective).

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Maybe you could blog on the analytic philosophy angle sometime? Didn't Kurt Goedel show severe problems with its assumptions?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:48 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

What did Goedel say? Where?

A statement like "I have severe problems with the assumptions of analytic philosophy" is very broad. It is like pointing over at the biology department and saying, "I have sever problems with what they are doing in molecular biology."

Regarding the field of philosophy itself, it is like saying, "I have severe problems with the approach to philosophy that is generally represented in Western thought by Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Ockham, Bacon, Locke and Wittgenstein."

Maybe it is easier to characterize analytic philosophy as "skeptical-empirical inquiry that regards logic as a philological, semantic and etymological project." Or, more simply stated, it is the advice Orwell offers in his "Politics and the English Language", and especially where he admonishes people not to say anything barbaric. Along these lines, and unfortunately, when it comes to philosophy-in-the-university, there are a lot of people saying barbaric things, and they are indifferent to this "aspect" of their utterances. Analytic philosophy, you could say, is an awareness (and the analysis) of such barbarism.

At 10:52 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I was thinking of logical positivism, but I understand you better now.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:32 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Not to say anything unkind, to be mindful of others and to be mindful of the wider effect ‘barbaric’ pronouncements may have, such as in creating an assumed meta-reality that is in fact false…. I am guessing? I have not studied philosophy. But if I have understood correctly, in this day and age – post-Burroughs etc – Carter, will my work provoke attention of this kind? Michael.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I'll post something tomorrow on Goedel's incompleteness theorems.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:02 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...


Will your university get a copy of the new/third edition of A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes?

In it, the "Michael Butterworth" article has material in it that is a point of departure for discussing abstract grammar and the sense of credulous concepts /inappropriate philosophical propositions...


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