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4 Dada Suicides: Selected Texts of Arthur Cravan, Jacques Rigaut, Julien Torma, and Jacques Vaché
by Jacques Vaché, Arthur Cravan, Jacques Rigaut, Julien Torma, Roger L. Conover , Iain White , Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia, André Breton , more…Jacques-Emile Blanche, Terry Hale , Paul Lenti , Philippe Merlen …less
This book collects together works by four "writers" on the fringes of the Dada movement in 1920's Paris. These four took the nihilism of the movement to its ultimate conclusion, their works are remnants of lives lived to the limit and then cast aside with nonchalance and abandon: Vache died of a drug overdose, Rigaut shot himself, Cravan and Torma simply vanished, their fa ...more
Paperback, Limited Edition of 1000, 238 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Atlas Press (GB)
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When suicide was an artform of some sort. These four nutty and wonderful poets had the flair of looking at death's door and thinking 'hmmm, why not?" Arthur Cravan is a film in the making. A prize fighter, a nephew of Oscar Wilde, hardcore trouble-maker, legendary poet-writer and a guy who went off to the sea by himself. The others are just as dramatic. And can they all write? Yeah, they can and they do it well. DADA is and was a beautiful moment in the arts.
While the title of this impressive volume is an arresting one, it's somewhat of a misnomer for a couple of reasons. First, only one of these fellows can properly be called a Dadaist. That would be Jacques Rigaut, though even he is said to have spent more time on the sidelines than actively participating. The others either prefigured Dadaism or were only loosely associated with it. However, their lives came to embody the spirit of Dadaism, perhaps even more so than its later proponents. Second, o ...more
Quite an amazing anthology here. The book takes writings from four poets/writers tied to the Dada movements and looks at them through the lens of suicide. They discuss suicide in ways normal to the bizarre, where the act of suicide is a form of poetry and theatre in it's own right. Unlike so many other anthologies of Dada writings, this one really holds together as a whole, largely because of the theme. Each set of writings is introduced by an essay that is scholarly in quality but still quite r ...more
Dec 15, 2014 Phil rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this collection. The biographies at the start of each section are fantastic, drawing from personal accounts of subsequent writers of that time. Although some of the "anti-art" pieces begin to lose their effect when drawn out for too long, the euphorisms of torma and fragments from Rigaut are brilliant. Even though I love Tzara these men are important to read to really feel Dada before it became the secularized (and thus self defeating) image that it gets portrayed as retrospecti ...more
This book gets 5 out of 5 from me! The only quibble I have is with the title: Of the four writers represented, only one of them - Riguat - was a confirmed suicide. Vache's death might have been an accidental overdose, while Cravan and Torma disappeared. Even then there is speculation that Cravan resurfaced in the 1920s (during which he posed as Andre Gide's secretary while trying to con people into buying forged Oscar Wilde manuscripts) and there is also speculation Torma never even existed!
Suicide on the 'lunatic fringe'. A subject dear to my wrists. & arms. & legs. I always hope that the most talented, the most sensitive, will make it & live a long & happy life. But sometimes the odds seem against it. Esp as the robopathic society supresses the individual more & more. Here are 4 who gave the big fuck-you to what passes as 'life'.
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“Knowing that there is no future that is possible or desirable, I experience the solace one feels on going back to sleep when the alarm clock has sounded.”
“A literally perfect style should conceal itself so completely behind what it expresses that it goes unnoticed.”More quotes…