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Artaud Anthology

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  912 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
"I am the man," wrote Artaud, "who has best charted his inmost self." Antonin Artaud was a great poet who, like Poe, Holderlin, and Nerval, wanted to live in the infinite and asked that the human spirit burn in absolute freedom.

To society, he was a madman. Artaud, however, was not insane but in luciferian pursuit of what society keeps hidden. The man who wrote Van Gogh the
Paperback, 253 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by City Lights Publishers (first published 1956)
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Adam Roan
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My first book of Antonin Artaud (otherwise known as Little Anthony.)

I remember driving 40 miles to get obtain this book - it was a hellish ride in snow and mud. My heart was palpating and racing because I already read on the internet much of this book. I was excited, but also nervous because of how intimidating his text was. When I finally received the book, I studied it in my car, reading more than half in a single sitting, I then drove back home, locked myself in my room and read this book re
Nom de Plume
Apr 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"There is in every madman a misunderstood genius whose idea, shining in his head, frightened people, and for whom delirium was the only solution to the strangulation that life had prepared for him."
Antonin Artaud

Between the 15 and 19 I read the bulk of the western philosophers. Near the end of this period I was given this book by a friend. Artuad was Nuts and I identified with him!
So, I swore off all western philosophy and heavy reading for the time being. I was too young! Now, at almost 30 I
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I do not want it to end. I cannot stop. I want more. Perhaps I can twist the book & ring him out for every last drop. Every droplet poignant even amongst the heaping steeping dung of his mind, the aroma is pungent yet it awakens within something ardent. It calls to life that which is undeniable. The book is riddled with phrases worth quoting, memorizing tattooing abroad one’s flesh & soul. He speaks from a world that rejected his spirit writhing in a grave. His mind, so entrancing. I wil ...more
Feb 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
As usual, I have an earlier edition of this w/ a different cover - before ISBNs. Artaud, you difficult human being you. Thank goodness, you existed. I wish you'd been happy, I wish I were happy, but I DON'T WISH YOU'D BEEN LIKE MOST OF THE MORONS IN THE WORLD. No degree of happiness is worth that fate. You gave a hard look at life & you let it fuck you up. You burned, you lived, you died, & you left a legacy well worth studying.
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: art-already-read
Great book in terms of straight forwardness of the writing and poetry, also very good curated and edited. although It worked the best for me when reading it scattered and kind of back to front.

The Down side of it was when I read the metaphysical and Buddhism part of his writing, not only it was redounded and empty of new ideas or concepts, but in some ways it was conservative. The "Van Gogh, The Man Suicided by the Society" was probably the best part of the book, that got me very interested to s
Sean A.
Artaud's repertoire is a massive shock against the electro-shock, a powerful yearning to be utterly understood, but on the author's own terms. It is a deep howl against everything he loathed. It is also, in a 20th-21st century literary world full of folks expressing sympathy and affinity with the insane, a painful yet wonderful insider's perspective into a mind tortured by too much lucidity.
Oct 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I think this is a sturdy selection, esp. as so many of the other Artaud collections I like seem to be out of print. Maddening, fascinating, often raving. Why is it that Artaud's work clings and haunts you?
Mar 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Poetic, hallucinatory discussions of art, madness, identity.
Seth Kupchick
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is another one of those books that marked me in my early twenties because it was my mentor's favorite and also that of my best contemporary, a kind of two for the price of one, a must read, and to like Artaud seemed to imply you were in some kind of club, but I'm not sure what membership entailed. Max's favorite essay of Artaud's (the character from "If So Carried By The Wind, Become The Wind") was "Van Gogh: The Artist Suicided By Society," and it was one of the longer works in the antholo ...more
Jul 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Fabulous book, especially the critical writing. Not the best place to go for poetry, but not bad. Much of this book was translated by David Rattray, who nails Artaud's intensity of voice. Also a lot of Jack Hirschman's translations, which are a bit too beat for my tastes. In any case, it is a wild read! Artaud really goes all out.
Oct 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is the first classic anthology put together by Poet Jack Hirschman on Artaud's writings and criticisms. Truly one of the greats of the theater - and well, the arts. Artaud was a haunted man and his writings have that desperate aspect to his mental health and his unique way of looking at the world. Truly great.
Michael A.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book contains a mixture of the best writing I have ever read and incomprehensible nonsense. Artaud himself said there is a genius in every mad man, and he cycles through these throughout the book, though the latter half is mostly mad man. This is never a boring book to read but I would be lying if I told you it is always a comprehensible book to read. I'm pretty sure Artaud was insane but if you look at some really method acting vis-a-vis surreal writing, it's pretty interesting stuff.

On S
Ben Jones
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
You find that you know almost nothing about him in the way that you know about almost anyone else...But that you know so much about him in a way that you know no one else.

I choose to think that is his intention. Revelations of the inward being opened up
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For any reader of Post modern philosophy or Dada/surrealist art, this is a must read.
Kind of like a lou Reed/Dee Dee Ramone prophet of disorder.
Mar 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Worth it for the Tarahumara Indian section alone, this edition of shorter works also includes classics like his justification for the legalization of Opium and the end to stigmatization of addicts, plus lots of brilliant and typically unusual pieces. Also, and this is really important, has selections from "Theater and its Double", which introduces the idea of the "Theater of Cruelty", which is an interesting subject in and of itself.

Truth be told I haven't read it from cover to cover but it's n
Eric Phetteplace
Jul 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Artaud's aggressive and vivid language is actually less interesting to me than his ideas, which center around developing a new and healthier spirituality. He has a totally different conception of the body, sexuality, and how religion should and does function than anyone who came before him. Also a great and more artistic predecessor to Deleuze and Guatarri.
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant!! A book to read over and over again. Deeply moving. A fascinating view of the mind in a world of persecution and fear. Note the lovely and immobilizing 'Van Gough,Suicided By Society'.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: priority, w-europe
There are some great lines of poetry. The prose can be tiresome and confused, overburdened by arcane, bizarre theorizing, mostly of a mystical nature, but there is often a hidden gem of a line. It's more of interest to a psychologist, since it's schizophrenic writing and thinking par excellance. The dominant theme is negation, and self-negation: rage against humanity, existence, the body, the mind and of course, and rightly so, the disease. Though like most insane people, he rarely mentions that ...more
David Antonelli
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A collection of absolutely fascinating writings from a man who was at once a literary genius, world traveller and experimenter with drugs such as peyote well before the time they became popular, but also a diary in a way of a man spiralling into schizophrenia. The bigger more comprehensive collection is also worth the extra time and money. Unrivalled in modern literature and I enjoyed it so much that his became the backbone for my novel The Narcissist, about a student of Artaud's work who myste ...more
i purchased this copy for 9.71 at a downtown bookstore. It's a first edition, fairly beat up, but in good condition. I saw the City Lights logo first, then I read the back and who this Artaud guy is.

And now i now. This guy is fascinating. At times it was hard to plow through because it read as you would assume it would read: someone with mental health issues, writing about their torment. Granted it is a fascinating read, sometimes frustrating, sometimes insightful. Sometimes bluntly hilarious.
Niles Hunter
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After reading this book (including eye-reads of the early black and white edition's many elevated to deranged photo's of Artaud) the early letters of Rimbaud made clear sense that the path in life to pursue was derangement of the senses. The pain that takes place in Artaud's sentences are to my mind, still the final word of "poetry." They exist in a time span that few if any have the guts to live, or even remotely begin exploring. If you truly enter here, as lifestyle, you enter a danger far bey ...more
Kimberly Carson
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-shit
A very strange effect accompanies the reader of this book. As Artaud descends into madness, his linguistic faculty improves greatly. The result is that as his ideas become more obscure, they also begin to make more sense. The reader is carried along with Artaud's fantastic imagination and comes to see it as more relatable than reality.
This may be clever editing, or it may be that there is truth to Artaud's madness.
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Artaud's scream vibrates throughout his urgent lines. I myself almost threw the book aside, the first one third of it leaving me dry - but, having persevered into his later writing, I am able to write the first sentence in this paragraph with sincerity and joy - the joy of having been squeezed in the anxious fist of a writer who dislocates you from the humdrum routine in which we are all stuck, which goes unnoticed - the nooks and crannies of the accepted, smashed by a bloodshot eye.
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
I first picked up this anthology 20 years ago. I found it to be unreadable then and it seems to be just as unreadable to me now. The only coherent pieces in this cacophony of blasphemy and obscenities are "Van Gogh: The Man Suicided by Society" and the alchemical "Theatre and Science". It would take me many lifetimes to make sense of his nonsense, so I won't even bother. I'll leave this to others who are better suited to the task.
Jay griffith
writings on: suicide comtemplation, the sickness of the social institution, the secrets hidden from it, the deepest recesses of the mind, the madness that comes of such "sanity," artaud is the epitome of the madman society persecutes.
Anna Hiller
Dec 19, 2007 marked it as on-the-shelf
Bought this one at the Henry Miller Memorial Library in Big Sur, which is actually a log cabin in the woods off of CA-1. I enjoy reading Artaud, king of surrealism, and every once in a while I pick this one up and read a few pages. Always illuminating.
Nov 30, 2016 rated it liked it
for all true poetry is cruel
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
vicious little book.
Dec 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
just be ready for him, because he is surely ready for you... a great intro to the genius
Jul 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
Come on, you hungry readers:
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Antoine Marie Joseph Artaud, better known as Antonin Artaud, was a French playwright, poet, essayist, actor, and theatre director.

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 th
“The life we lead is a front for all which the frightful criminal filthymindedness of some of us has left us. A grotesque masquerade of acts & sentiments. Our ideas are only the leftovers of a breath, breath of our choked & trussed lungs.” 4 likes
“All those who have vantage points in their spirit... ; all those who are masters of their language; all those for whom words have a meaning; all those for whom there exist sublimities in the soul and currents of thought; all those who are the spirit of the times, and have named these currents of thought -- and I am thinking of their precise works, of that automatic grinding that delivers their spirit to the winds --
are pigs.”
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