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The best parts of this rare and out-of-print pamphlet were recycled in Confusion Incorporated, which also recycled the subtitle. The introduction follows:


Quodcumque ostendis mihi sic, incredulus odi. Horace.

The smallest fragment in the world is infinite. What does one see or paint or write? In the last analysis, what one wishes to see, and what one can see. Nietzsche.

At the beginning of 1993 I decided it was time to revive a polemical style of journalism that was popular in pre-revolutionary France and which is now recognised as having played a major role in the downfall of the French monarchy. In his book The Literary Underground Of The Old Regime (Harvard University Press, 1982), Robert Darnton uses the following words to describe the phenomena that interested me: 'The Grub Street mentality made itself heard with exceptional vehemence during the last years of the Old Regime. It spoke through the libelle, the hack writers' staff of life, their meat, their favorite genre and a genre that deserves to be rescued from the neglect of historians, because it communicates the Grub Street view of the world: a spectacle of knaves and fools buying and selling one another and forever falling victim to les grands. The grand monde was the real target of the libelles. They slandered the court, the church, the aristocracy, the academies, the salons, everything elevated and respectable, including the monarchy itself, with a scurrility that is difficult to imagine today, although it has had a long career in underground literature. For pamphleteers had lived by libel since the time of Aretino.'

Most readers would be surprised if they learnt how many of the apparent 'libelles' that have been assembled here are, in fact, true. Unfortunately, the only way in which I can safely present much of this information to the public is under the guise of satire. Everything in this collection that has been previously published appeared under my 'real' name (I have legally valid British birth certificates in two different names), with the exception of the article Home On The Deranged which was credited to Karen Eliot. It should be stressed that all the events described in this pseudonymous piece actually took place, I have both lectured at the Tate Gallery and met Bill Drummond of the K Foundation, these are simply typical events from an 'ordinary' day in my life.

It seemed appropriate that the texts collected here should appear in pamphlet form. It would have been easy for me to assemble a larger collection of journalism into a book, but I decided against this because the transmission and reception of the work would have been quite different. Besides, I feel nothing but contempt for those self-described marginals, the would-be kings of the sub-underground, who scrape together every fart and whimper so that there is enough material to place a spine on their pathetic dribblings. Unlike these mean creatures, I am ambitious enough to want to re-invent world culture in its entirety, something that necessitates a critical distance between myself and my writing. Obviously, I arrive at productive positions through error and therefore, those parts of my output that are discarded along the way are of little interest to anyone who isn't an archaeologist of knowledge. Since I am perfectly capable of writing at length, I can leave it to future generations of critics and historians to unearth my book reviews and related ephemera, I have no intention of anthologising such material for them. In fact, I sincerely hope that certain of these texts, having performed their work, will be lost 'forever'.

Stewart Home, London April 1995.

Generic piece about publications of this type


Conspiracies, Cover-Ups and Diversions by Stewart Home cover