Selected Writings
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Selected Writings

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  378 ratings  ·  19 reviews
A revolutionary figure in the literary avant-garde of his time, Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) is now seen to be central to the development of post-modernism. His writings comprise verse, prose poems, film scenarios, a historical novel, plays, essays on film, theater, art, and literature, and many letters. Susan Sontag's selection conveys the genius of this singular writer.
Paperback, 720 pages
Published October 10th 1988 by University of California Press (first published October 1976)
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Oh man how long ago I loved this shit 12+ years ago when drunk and my hair was all crazy before crazy hair was even close to cool and I was all like I'm the late 20th century's carbohydrate-addled Artuad update and I was all about how Van Gogh was suicided by society and oooooo ccccccaaaaaa hhhhhhaahahahaha kkkkkkskskskss ththshshthht how i loved those pages of chanting - definitely worth checking out, especially if you've ever seen that silent movie about that Joan of Arc chick that Artaud's in...more
Artaud is the whole point. It's because I hate him and I'm building an arsenal against him shelf by shelf and I'm turning nothing over to him. He is an eatereatereatereater.

...It's the spider-web sanctuary,
the onouric tuft
of where-ere the sail,
the anal plate of anayou

(You're not taking anything away, god,
because it's me.
You've never taken anything like this away from me.
I'm writing it here fo rthe first time,
I'm finding it for the first time.)...

(The Return of Artaud, le Momo, 523)
For those like me who are going into this book without being familiar with Artaud the preface will be invaluable. Underneath the veneer of derangement that it is hard to not look past there is a beautifully elucidated and powerful/creative/even optimistic desire to redeem life that is beyond words and which lends to his mental decline a martyrdom for mankind. A refusal to accept defeat (or to even acknowledge the existence of defeat.) Artaud is an invaluable resource to those who wish to look in...more
Along with the Jack Hirschman edition (published by City Lights) this Susan Sontag edition is a winner and a great introduction to the man and his unique and always strange work. A sampler of his writings that will make you want to read more and more about him. Good lookin' man about town as well!
Dec 17, 2007 al•veiz rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: romantics
Most of what I've read from this book is the introduction.
For some reason,
collections of "selective writings" curated by externals tend to drive me to more extensive selecting measures.
i've enjoyed what i've selected so far.
but the introduction is really something anyone passing by this book should take a moment with.
If you know something about Artaud it might be related to him being a frightful and troubled man, fascinatingly inhuman or uberhuman by the same velocity. You may have wondered if...more
America is denounced as a baby factory war-mongering machine. Bloody and apocalyptic death rituals are described. Shit is vividly exalted as evidence of life and mortality…. And …God itself turns up on an autopsy table as a dissected organ taken from the defective corpse of mankind.
One suggested for getting an approximation of an idea of antonin Artaud’s last radion work: turn on the radio to any station (except WFMU of course), turn on the TV with the sound up and the picture off, smoke a join...more
You know you're in trouble when the preface encourages you to only read excerpts of the book you have in front of you... But dipping into various sections, I can see why. Artaud's writings are searing and thrilling but also unrelenting and repetitively emphatic. I read about one-third of the book before I couldn't motivate myself to open the book anymore. I hope to read more of it, maybe one day all of it, but I think I can only do a bit at a time without losing my mind.

In a way, the concise co...more
Steven Salaita
I had a wonderful professor years ago--Scott Christianson, now deceased--who was into all kinds of what he called "extreme" literature. Christianson was a warm and caring human being who liked to challenge students' intellectual comfort zones with unusual theory and literature.

He assigned this anthology to all of his entering MA classes, and all these years later it's still fresh in my mind. Artaud was certainly highly talented, but in many ways tortured. My advice would be to take drugs before...more
Jan 09, 2008 Nessa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Nessa by: Lance
Fantastic sensory/mental states clearly elucidated by a luntic. Sometimes a bit annoying because of his fascination with drugs, but he acutally did have mental issues.

The man knew himself best because he knew what he was made of- nothing. He knew he could not descibe himself in any words, therefore knew his person better. Reading this book is like reading with all the senses plus more you never knew you had (or could describe)

The most vivid description of things that cannot be described in word...more
Greg Cummings
Back in 1987, day after day, I took this book with me while I searched the backstreets of London for myself...Intoxicating, like addictive narcotic to a famished vampire. Between the shock and awe of Artaud's nightmares and his garish illumination of theatre's shadowy recesses are sound and sanguine life tutorials. His lessons about writing are invaluable to the tortured.
Katrina was in graduate school and reading horribly fucked up shit so I followed suit. Lowry is Artaud's only near equal when it comes to drowning prose in sorrow and self-loathing. Excruciating and needed, like scalding hot water on a face clayed with dried mud and scat.
Artaud is a tough read, but you can't deny the power of his insights into theatre. It's always good to read someone who has enormous passion about the subject, that being said, it gets a little scary and sad at times since Artaud was losing his grip on reality.
Funny tale for those in the know--I was put into a psychiatric hospital when I was about 14 and my father's gift to me while I was there was this collection. Ha!!
Erin Wallace
I'm not keen on Sontag's introduction. At certain points she inappropriately evaluates Artaud in terms of her own Marxist revolutionary ideals....
Susan Sontag's writing in this collectin is provocative and stimulating.
Jun 27, 2007 Sandrine rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone as crazy as me
I love ARTAUD...but not everyone does... read at your own risk.
Edited, with an introduction by Susan Sontag.
not this edition, but equivalent in French
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Considered among the most influential figures in the evolution of modern drama theory, Antonin Artaud associated himself with Surrealist writers, artists, and experimental theater groups in Paris during the 1920s. When political differences resulted in his break from the Surrealists, he founded the Theatre Alfred Jarry with Roger Vitrac and Robert Aron. Together they hoped to create a forum for wo...more
More about Antonin Artaud...
The Theater and Its Double Artaud Anthology Watchfiends and Rack Screams: Works from the Final Period Heliogabalus; or, the Crowned Anarchist Van Gogh. Il suicidato della società

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