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Maldoror And The Complete Works [Paperback]

Comte de Lautreamont
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 Oct 1993
André Breton wrote that Maldoror is "the expression of a revelation so complete it seems to exceed human potential." Little is known about its pseudonymous author aside from his real name (Isidore Ducasse), birth in Uruguay (1846), and early death in Paris (1870). Lautréamont’s writings bewildered his contemporaries but the Surrealists modeled their efforts after his lawless black humor and poetic leaps of logic, exemplified by the oft-quoted slogan, "As beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella!" Maldoror’s shocked first publisher refused to bind the sheets of the original edition… and perhaps no better invitation exists to this book which warns the reader, "Only the few may relish this bitter fruit without danger." This is the only complete annotated collection of Lautréamont's writings available in English, in a superior translation.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Exact Change,U.S.; annotated edition edition (30 Oct 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 187897212X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1878972125
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 15.8 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 371,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Alexis Lykiard’s translation is both subtle and earthy… this is the best translation now available." -- Washington Post Book World

"Lautréamont’s style is hallucinatory, visionary… this new fluent translation makes clear its poetic texture and what may be termed its subversive attraction." -- New York Times

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterwork of dark literature. 6 Jan 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As savage as it is beautiful, as challenging as it is rewarding, Les Chants de Maldoror is an inspired and disquieting exploration of the evil humans are capable of. I have read several translations, and this one is by far the best.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intensly strange, yet gripping and influential. 18 April 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Isador DuCasse aka Le Compte de Lautremont is a great relatively unknown master who influenced the surrealists with Les Chants De Maldoror. An extended prose poem that destroy its own context (or total lack thereof). It can be looked on as either a great work or complete and total nonsense; I choose the former.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Belladonna breath 29 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There might well be a vital requirement in the literary publication scene for a superior English translation of The Songs of Maldoror - not because of the general drift of the content, which is easy enough to convey, but because the subtleties and obscure complexity of the author's original wordgames demand the perception of a nimble linguist; it's something of a high-wire juggling-act, like dancing on the roof of a burning building.

Mr Lykiard's version - which is all it can be - reads quite well and succeeds in a general sense in conveying much of the spirit of the original, which is the main thing: Lautréamont was a devilishly-determined literary anarchist and that fact together with many examples of his perverse methods emerges clearly enough via the English text. Purists may quibble, but we still get the message of a bomb's blast without knowing every technical detail of its construction.

Almost any more-or-less accurate quotation gives a fair flavour of where Lautréamont was at: 'As beautiful as the trembling of an alcoholic's hands', for example; this handy compendium will certainly do until (if ever) a better one comes along.
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