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Revised, Expanded, Illustrated, and Annotated Edition of the author’s classic, published by RE/Search in 1990. Original text supplemented with Annotations, Commentary, and Four Additional Stories by J.G. Ballard.

Contains beautifully shocking Illustrations by Phoebe Gloeckner and Ana Barrado; design was conceived by V. Vale and executed at his typesetting shop. J.G. Ballard wrote the explanatory annotations for this RE/Search edition at Vale’s request.

Foreword by William S Burroughs, Introduction by V. Vale. First published in 1970 and widely regarded as a prophetic masterpiece, this is a groundbreaking experimental novel by the acclaimed author of “Crash” and “Super-Cannes”.

A few copies also remain of the rare hardback edition, signed by J.G. Ballard. Take a look here.

Product Description

The 1970 First American Edition was banned by court order, forcing Doubleday to shred the entire print run. An experimental (rather than a conventional) novel, it has lost none of its awesome power to shock. Atrocity Exhibition is widely regarded as Ballard’s finest, most complex work…

The irrational, all-pervading violence of the modern world is the subject of this extraordinary tour de force. The central character’s dreams are haunted by images of John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, dead astronauts and car-crash victims as he traverses the screaming wastes of nervous breakdown. Seeking his sanity, he casts himself in a number of roles: H-bomber pilot, presidential assassin, crash victim, psychopath. Finally, through the black, perverse magic of violence he transcends his psychic turmoils to find the key to a bizarre new sexuality.

A “must-have” edition for J. G. Ballard collectors.


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Excerpt from Chapter One

Note: The commentary is by Ballard, and unique to the RE/Search edition
Apocalypse A disquieting feature of this annual exhibition–to which the patients themselves were not invited–was the marked preoccupation of the paintings with the theme of world cataclysm, as if these long-incarcerated patients had sensed some seismic upheaval within the minds of their doctors and nurses. As Catherine Austin walked around the converted gymnasium these atro_missilebizarre images, with their fusion of Eniwetok and Luna Park, Freud and Elizabeth Taylor, reminded her of slides of exposed spine levels in Travis’s office. They hung on the enameled walls like the codes of insoluble dreams, the keys to a nightmare in which she had begun to play a more willing and calculated role. Primly she buttoned her white coat as Dr. Nathan approached, holding his gold-tipped cigarette to one nostril. ‘Ah, Dr. Austin…What do you think of them? I see there’s War in Hell.’ Commentary:”Eniwetok and Luna Park” may seem like a strange pairing, the H-bomb test site in the Marshall Islands with the Paris fun fair loved by the surrealists. But the endless newsreel clips of nuclear explosions that we saw on TV in the 1960s (a powerful incitement to the psychotic imagination, sanctioning everything) did have a carnival air, a media phenomenon which Stanley Kubrick caught perfectly at the end of Dr. Strangelove. I imagine my mental patients conflating Freud and Liz Taylor in their Warhol-like efforts, unerringly homing in on the first signs of their doctor’s nervous breakdown. The Atrocity Exhibition’s original dedication should have been “To the insane.” I owe them everything.

Ballard understood that the only way for the writer or artist to capture the texture, atmosphere, and meaning of contemporary life is by appropriating the news reportage with which we are all bombarded every single day and which implicitly sees the world as an unfolding Armageddon, as “The Secret History of World War 3″. Unlike the news, however, the radical vision of “The Atrocity Exhibition” is The Real Thing, profound rather than facile, authentic rather than sensationalistic, lucid rather than lurid. Its influence on every aspect of contemporary culture (music, the arts, cinema, and literature) has been immense. The Mannerist cult writer Chuck Palahniuk would literally not exist without Ballard. Everything that Palahniuk has written (often brilliantly) is Ballard Redux; his themes are Ballardian even if most of his knowing admirers do not know it. “One of the most intelligent voices in contemporary literature” (Susan Sontag). J. G. Ballard died on April 19, 2009 at the age of 78, the last of the great visionary writers of our time. One of the greatest writers of the 20th century.