The Frankfurt Kabuff Critical Edition
A creative critique of the contemporary publishing industry
When violence breaks out at the stands of far-right publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Beatrice Deft is provoked into action. An alienated Australian high school teacher who finds herself at the centre of the global book industry, Beatrice encounters a cast of characters including the very hot Caspian Schorle (German police officer), Kurt Weidenfeld (left-wing German publisher), and White Storm (a neo-Nazi publishing organisation).
Such is the premise of The Frankfurt Kabuff, a comic erotic thriller about the publishing industry originally self-published under the pseudonym Blaire Squiscoll. With The Frankfurt Kabuff Critical Edition, Blaire Squiscoll is revealed as the pen name of Beth Driscoll and Claire Squires, who created the novella in the midst of fieldwork at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Published for the first time as a full critical edition, this experimental, playful work combines critical and creative modes for new perspectives on the publishing industry and creative economies.
The Frankfurt Kabuff Critical Edition enriches the novella with an introduction, annotated text, 15 essays by leading scholars and practitioners, and additional creative assemblages. This highly unusual research project offers insights for students, academics and publishers alike.
“The Frankfurt Kabuff Critical Edition is a refreshingly joyful and playful intervention in the book history and publishing studies worlds, showing what can be gained from applying academic tools to an experimental creative literary exercise. The serious purpose of this work is that the experimental techniques open up a way of talking about power dynamics, politics, and identity that can otherwise remain unaddressed. We need this kind of innovation, irreverence, and inspiration.” – Claire Battershill, author of Women and Letterpress Printing: Gendered Impressions (2022)
“This not-quite-so-hardboiled neo-noir potboiler is your all-access all-in pass to the backrooms and afterparties of the sprawling Frankfurt Book Fair. But Driscoll and Squires’ Kabuff is more than just a cabinet of curiosities: the essays and accumulated ancillary material combine to create a seriously playful and playfully serious exploration of the often inscrutable world of the international book trade, where language, commerce, and cultural capital all collide. With fiction, criticism, and discourses on method all part of the exhibit, all that’s missing is the Prosecco.” – Matthew Kirschenbaum, author of Bitstreams: The Future of Digital Literary Heritage (2021)
“A remarkable scholarly volume …. It wields the tools of high theory, at the conflux of art and philosophy, to expand the possibilities of humanities and social sciences research. A perfect accompaniment for a glass of wine and a sausage while waiting for a train at the Hauptbahnhof.” – Prof. Dr. Theobald Jürgen Marx-Voss von Adorno, author of numerous books
“I have read everything worth reading about the Frankfurt Book Fair and the school named after it. And now I have read this book, too. The Frankfurt Kabuff Critical Edition is a mash-up: Bookfair Murders meets The Russia House meets Dialektik der Aufklärung. A masterpiece!” – a publishing insider