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Antonin Artaud: Selected Writings Paperback – 1 Jul 1992

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Product details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; Reprint edition (1 July 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520064437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520064430
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 4.1 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 574,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Artaud, who withdrew from the theatre but remained essentially an actor, came nearest to dramatising when he could project his imagination into another man's experience. . . . No one has written more lucidly or illuminatingly about the way van Gogh used madness, art and suicide to cope with an insufferable situation."--Ronald Hayman, "Encounter

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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Dec 1998
Format: Paperback
This is without a doubt the most accurate written encounter with madness that I have come across. Not only that, it accounts for the madness that is writing; what it takes to want to write and the effects on he who commits himself to that aim. I wish there were some more substantial examples of his prose floating about somewhere, for the only criticism I have of this collection is that there is no one large work. If you would rather read about someone else's pain as opposed to creating your own, then this is certainly the book for you. If you wish to enhance any pain you might be feeling, then this book is also recommended.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 April 1997
Format: Paperback
Antonin Artaud was very influential in the changing the theatre from psychological drama stories to the wide range it has today.

He has also given us a view of 'madness' (for which he spent 9ish years in various asylums) from a very intelligent and literate point of view.

and Bauhaus wrote a song about him.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
The theatre, life and writings of a brilliant lunatic 27 May 2001
By Thomas Lapins - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This isn't a book that you read from cover to cover. Find a subject that interests you. Then another. And then another. Soon you'll find yourself caught in his web of genius. His madness came from his endless spring of sanity that could no longer hold up under the insanity of the world he lived in. Genius suffers. He suffered too much. Years ago I saw a one man play "Artaud's Project" in Chicago. Best piece of theatre I've ever seen. This was my introduction to Artaud. This book captures this brilliant lunatic's crystal clear vision and pain. His letters are prehaps the highlight of this collection. This book is not for the masses, though, I wish it were. So much insanity and ignorance could be wiped out in a single stroke if people understood this man. Of course the sane appear to be insane in an insane world. If any of what I've said makes the least bit of sense to you this book is for you!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Tome essential to all theatre artists 25 Jun 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Studying Artaud is one way of taking a deep dive off into the realm of the unknown. His struggle to fully comprehend and describe lucidly his thought process and the clockwork of his soul; his obsessive desire and drive to break beyond the mundane level of median psycological theatre to rediscover the fiery roots and potent magic of the theatre event; and his visionary words---all of these combine to give us a man who was deep, profound and troubled---hence, utterly human, and truly inspirational to any theatre artist or artist in general. This translation of some of his most essential writings is essential to anyone who wishes to study the avant garde theatre. His influence is at times lucid and clearly defined; at other times, one sees that the myth of Artaud has distorted what the actual man wanted and worked for. In dealing with any artist who has created such a controversy (in his own time as well as in our time), one has to approach his work with the discipline of a tightrope walker. And Sontag's work provides the researcher with a straight, keen and powerful translation. Among the other translations of Artaud, this one is the best anthology available for the experienced researcher and the burning initiate. Read it as an athlete of the heart.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Artaud: what and where and how were you thinking? 29 Jun 2000
By Mr A ODonnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Selected Writings isn't an easy read. I jumped around a lot. This stuff is the most intense stuff I've ever come across. Artaud is one of the most important writers to rationalise beyond logic. His ideas on Van Gogh prove, beyond doubt, that his sense of aesthetics was far more acute than his contemporaries. They always said weird stuff about Neitszche, how he was more 'in touch with himself' than other writers or, indeed, society at large. But Artaud explodes that idea, since he continually toys with his own sense of himself to the extreme. Reading Artaud for prolonged periods is like going beyond this (his) sense of self to another place, something completely new and agonizing. His ideas abouty the theatre are quite well established but there is other stuff here. The poems, monologues and just the sheer variety of 'inner scenarios' at play here really astounds you. 'To have done with the judgement of God' must be the most extreme form of self expressed mental torture around! (incidentally, am I correct in thinking there is a recording of this piece knockin' around?) Anyways, please take a slice of the insanity, you never know where it will lead you...
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Essential! 22 Dec 1999
By "cjtloe" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Artaud is more pertinant to today's world and the battle for sanity in an insane world than any other writer save William Burroughs. As Poe, Rimbaud,Lautreamont and De Nerval were influentual to generations of writers decades after their work; so does Artaud promise to be the next great muse of the new. This book is for anyone who is interested in the most intrigueing of experimental literature.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Full of Sympathy for Van Gogh 24 May 2000
By Bruce P. Barten - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book offers selections on a much broader range of interests than my own. Understanding the nature of deep empathy seems easiest to me in the 1947 work, "Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society" on pages 481 to 512. Artaud only lived from 1896 to 1948, but he seemed to be strangely affected by the coronation of Heliogabalus which began in the year 217. Artaud was not reading the history of events lightly when he reported "that the historians begin to go mad with rage." (p.317) Artaud was on the side of the emperor who picked his victims from among the aristocrats in "a kind of superior anarchy" which "runs from jewel to jewel, from outburst to outburst, from form to form, and from flame to flame, as if he were running from soul to soul in a mysterious interior odyssey which no one after him ever repeated." (p. 329) Strangely enough, this seems very modern to me, approaching what is now considered the height of entertainment.
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