Babyfucker, Urs Allemann, trans. Peter Smith, biligual edition, Les Figues Press, 2010
Babyfucker, Urs Allemann, trans. Peter Smith, biligual edition, Les Figues Press, 2010

“… mirrors and copulation are abominable because they increase the number of men.” —Borges

Babyfucker is far more disturbing than the title suggests. The book, written by a Swiss author, spawned a controversy in Germany in 1991. It begins unabashedly with the sentence “I fuck babies,” which the narrator declares to be his sentence. It is the reader’s sentence, too. However, there are no detailed representations of infant pedophilia. There is terse, detached description of an impossible garret, filled with baskets of babies, supplied with a spigot and drain for morphine-laced milk; trepidation at humanity and new life; a man who sees himself in the mirror as a baby — then as made up, limb by limb, of babies. If there are specific sexual visions here, they must belong mainly to the reader, not the text. Among other unsettling things, the volume (which is yellow and pink, tiny, and cute) shows the reader’s involvement in literary atrocities, in any violation committed by shared imagination.

5 Replies to “Babyfucker

  1. Sounds intense. Reminds me of this bit by comedian Louis C.K., observing that newscasters saying sanitized profanities (e.g. “the f word,” “the n word”) is worse than the profanity itself, because it forces the listener to say the uncensored word clearly and internally.

    (By the way, you’re now the #3 search result for “babyfucker.” Now, how do I explain to my wife why it’s in my search history?)

  2. Jason: The book is apparently not yet available online. When it is, however, you’ll be able to get it from Small Press Distribution.

    Andy: Excellent point. I never thought of “the n word” as being worse than “nigger” (which, I believe, is the most offensive word in the English language), but you and Louis C.K. present an interesting case. Nevertheless: Try typing those two phrases into a comment or blog post and see which one makes you flinch.

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