Artwork by Delia Bell Robinson
William Hundwasse’s cult best-seller, The Nose ( Fomite Press, 2004) was a literary and marketing sensation, spawning more than two hundred associated products, a major motion picture by the Koan brothers, and various oddball social practices still current, if fading. An American success, yes, but a typical crime of exploitation.
According to its hero, Alexei Pigov, Mr. Hundwasser, wrapping himself as ever in “poetic license”, not only misrepresented him and his projects worldwide, making free with the facts, but beyond the page forced real Alexei to act out many of his get-rich strategies for stardom. Get rich they did, of course, and famous. But for the real Alexei Pigov, it was -- and is -- important that the true story be known. Veritas vos liberabit.
Noting my use of real characters in fictional work, in 2006, Mr. Pigov approached me to bring out an edition of Hundwasser’s The Nose, with his corrective annotations. Unbridled Books was persuaded to publish their first offering in annotated-book format, with Hundwasser’s original text and its now-classic drawings by Delia Robinson reproduced on the left-hand page, and Pigov’s voluminous commentary -- indexed to Hundwasser -- on the right. I was pleased to provide some editorial remarks on the complexities as I understand them.
As the contemporary plague rages, it is important for the public to understand plague doctors like Alexei, their motivations, and practices.
About the Author
Marc Estrin's world line approximates a cross between a fungal mycelium and a Rube Goldberg device. Biologist, theater director, EMT, Unitarian minister, physician assistant, puppeteer, political activist, college professor, cellist and conductor, he is baffling, even unto himself.