A critical look at the historical and cultural implications of Alfred Jarry's pseudoscience, pataphysics 'Pataphysics, what Alfred Jarry calls ""the science of imaginary solutions,"" has until now gone largely ignored by literary scholars, due in part to its academic frivolity and hermetic perversity. Nevertheless, this capricious philosophy has inspired nearly one hundred years of avant-garde experimentation. Christian Bok redresses this critical omission by tracing the tangled history of pataphysics, discussing the tension between science and poetics, in order to demonstrate that pataphysics constitutes an intrinsic, but neglected, cornerstone of postmodernity itself. Bok examines the work of Jarry, arguing that it represents a humorous addendum to the philosophy of Nietzsche, while also considering the influence of 'pataphysics upon the poetic legacy of the twentieth century, particularly the work of Italian Futurists, French Oulipians, and Canadian Jarryites. Bok resorts to the radical poetics of such contemporary philosophers as Delauze, Derrida, Baudrillard, and Serres in order to explicate the 'pataphysical relationship between rationalism and its discontents. Bok draws on a wide range of reading in poetry and theory to establish a firm historical ground for understanding the influence of 'pataphysics - all the while making a variety of seemingly difficult or obscure material accessible in a surprisingly charming and poetic manner. A long overdue critical look at a significant strain of the twentieth-century avant-garde, his book raises important historical, cultural, and theoretical issues germane to the production and reception of poetry, how we think about it, how we write it, how we read it, and what sorts of claims it makes upon our understanding.