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Le Petomane by Jean Nohain

Le Petomane (1967)

by Jean Nohain

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It is a great regret in the life that there are hundreds of biographies of Adolf Hitler but only one of the great Le Petomane, the famous French professional farter. Who amongst us would rather read a book about a monster who unleashed genocide compared to a man who could fart popular songs? And when given the choice to attend either an address by Hitler or a performance by Le Petomane at the Moulin Rouge, I for one would be in the audience at the Moulin Rouge, laughing along at the art Le Petomane could express from his nether regions.

It’s hard to recognise how popular Le Petomane was in late nineteenth century Paris; sold out shows had members of the audience in such laughter that nurses were in attendance to deal with those who collapsed from the strain of laughter. In this rather short book (95 pages in my edition) we get details of Le Petomane’s early life, including his discovery that he could use his backside to sing, and his slighter later related discovery that this talent could be put to good financial use. And, how could anyone not want to read a book which includes quotes like “You see, sir, my anus is of such elasticity that I can open and shut it at will.” And while I’m at it, and book that can link Pliny the Elder to perhaps the greatest of all farters is ace in my mind. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Jan 24, 2017 |
This is a biography of a man with a peculiar talent who became the toast of Paris in the 1890's. If his stage name sounds familar, it's because Mel Brooks played governor William J. Le Petomane in Blazing Saddles. When the movie came out in 1974, I remember thinking that this was a very odd name and tried unsuccessfully to look it up. It wasn't until years later that I learned about the real Le Petomane. For a nice summary of his life and times, go here: http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~lofty/pujol.htm ( )
  Jamie638 | Mar 16, 2007 |
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We have to thank the following for their kind help with our researches: Patrice Bousesel, Cherel, Gaston Cony, Jacques Garnier, Jean-Leo, Pascal Pia, Georges Sirot, and Jean Weber.
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Before presenting the star of this story to the reader, it is important to remember the extraordinary, extravagant place which Le Petomane held in Parisian life between 1892 and 1900.
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