Compiling the Gilbert Adair Festschrift

(c) Justin Williams/ Rex Features

(c) Justin Williams/ Rex Features

The second VP festschrift posed multiple dilemmas due to the subject’s shapeshifting nature. A series of festschrifts could be compiled around Adair’s brilliant film and culture essays, or his staggering translation work (Perec especially), or his screenplays and other miscellany. We chose to focus on his literary novels, and his talents as a pasticheur (a title that cannot be overused), indulging in the meta-play from his Evadne novels, and the lit-theory cleverness from The Death of the Author, to blissful extremes. The collaborative piece ‘Disturbance at the Pastiche Playground’ nods towards Queneau’s Exercises in Style with a pass-the-buck series of pastiches on authors as diverse as Roald Dahl, Rabelais, Karl Edward Wagner, W.G. Sebald, and Georges Perec (a contribution from real-life Oulipian Ian Monk). To keep things respectable, we solicited various essays on his literary works, and received two fabulously detailed takes on his Evadne mysteries, along with pieces on The Dreamers and his lesser-known novellas. This festschrift, as with the preceding issue on CB-R, opened up a playful space where Adair’s impish intellectual spirit was riffed on and respectfully parodied with maniacal fervour. The novella-sized closer, ‘The Glibread Affair’ is an act of pitch-perfect pastiche work taken to such levels of affectionate mimicry, one suspects the author to have suffered a disturbing form of echolalia as a child. The first-time publication of the superb Pope pastiche The Rape of the Cock, and Kevin Jackson’s illuminating interview, helped us involve the absent man himself in the whole affair. Adair deserves more readers in the UK and the US. And the rest of the universe.