BOSCH'D—fables, moral tales & other awkward constructions by Joan Retallack

Litmus Press


Softcover / 178 x 229 mm / 140 pp

ISBN 978-1-933959-40-5


In [Bosch’s] enchanted garden no color line is drawn.
— Commentary 106, Art Treasures of the Prado, 1954

Joan Retallack’s BOSCH’D — “fables, moral tales & other awkward constructions” is passionate, transgressive and, albeit obliquely, optimistic that we can (but only with creative buoyancy) exhume a sense of viable futures for all species on this planet. The first of many BOSCH’D aphorisms states the opening condition this way: “Humor without gravitas passes through the mind with little effect; gravitas without humor is death.” With that, Retallack takes on the paradoxical, hence generative, dystopian logics she calls “our projectile legacies”— misogyny, racism, undaunted colonialism, and more. It’s where her playful and grave poetics of the poethical wager revs up. As the sun at noon illustrates all shadows, Hieronymus Bosch illuminated a beautiful and grotesque biosphere (see Fig. x) that, along with tender sensuality and ubiquitous love, was riddled with human follies and trespasses we’ve come to identify as the Anthropocene. “Bosch’d” (verb. trans.) does not yet appear in our lexicons. For some of its implications, we present this erudite, searching, and great-humored book.