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on 23 May 2003
this book is demented-it's a halucinatory trip through the deranged mind of Maldoror - who is by turns the hero, villian, and narrator of the book. Maldoror describes attrocities, blasphemies, and bestial-ecstacies in a poetic style that is beautiful, even while the subject matter is sickening. It's kind of plotless and dreamlike, but it sucks you in from the first page. I think this book is incredible, but it does contain some of the most graphic violence I have ever read......... so be warned!
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on 6 March 2007
This 'poem' must be the best exponent of surrealism although it was written well befor the surrealist movement. It has the power of nightmares that suck its reader in. It goes beyond that, it would change you for life.

The 'poem' is extremely violent but extremely beautiful at the same time. This is one of those strange books that, once read, would beckon you again and again and you will find yourself reading it again or at least thinking about it frequently. No wonder the surrealists idealised Lautreamont (real name Isidore Ducasse), a Frenchman born and brought up in Montevideo and died in Paris. He died young and left behind some scattered works, Maldoror being his major achievement. Not much of his life is known and Maldoror must be the piece that kept him alive, a work steeped in death, violence and destruction! Lautreamont himself became his best critic (he frequently elaborates his own work from within) when he said:

'I want the mourning reader atleast to be able to say to himself: "One must give hime his due. He has considerably cretinised me. What wouldn't he have done had he lived longer? He is the best professor of hypnotism I ever knew!"'

Alexis Lykiard's translation, Pg. 214-215
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on 1 April 2011
This is a surreal, gothic, poetic, brutal, imaginative, unreadable non-story of a book written in 1868 by 22 year old Isidore Ducasse who died 2 years later.

It is based around the narrator's real life and imagined alter ego Maldoror. He describes what he sees and produces a darkly, sinister, interaction from them whilst at the same time the narrator tells us what Maldoror sees and does. Maldoror loathes himself, God, life, everyone else's life and his situation. The book is actually six mini-books of 10 sections. Though a lot deeper than the list will suggest this is a summary of the first few books main ideas or initial trains of thought:

Pederast, oceans, murder, gravedigger, toad, blood, bus passengers, small girl, hermaphrodite, soprano, louse, maths, lamp, Almighty, shipwreck, suicide, shark, conscience, horse rider, child rape/body mutilation, madwoman, dragon, sleeping god, brothel, a hair, hanged, body, shadow, dreamy hog, aqua man, teenager, dung beetle, funeral, vampire spider.

Maldoror kills, hates, imagines, thinks, torments, asks the reader, and engages you with the situation he's conjured up. The depth comes because it's not real but is believable. But is clever and thought provoking. Teenagers get their throats cut, a hair starts talking, mathematics is exalted and God denied. Maldoror himself says he's trying to "invent a poetry completely outside the laws of nature" and the text is just that. There is about 10% story particularly the last book but don't expect to understand or have any resolution.

Maldoror's a sort of average teenager goth armed with a pen, virginal hang-ups, demonic ideas, handbook of world religions and writes what he sees.

Here are some more quotes but even these don't really do the work justice:

"whenever he kissed a little pink-faced child, he felt like tearing open its cheeks with a razor"

"I use my genius to depict the delights of cruelty"

"show me a man who is good...for at the sight of such a monster, I may die of astonishment: men have died of less"

"drink, drink confidently the blood and tears of the adolescent. Blindfold him, while you rend his palpitating flesh"

"It is not enough that the army of physical and moral afflictions which surrounds us should have been created: the secret of our shabby destiny is not revealed to us"

"he prepares, without blenching, to dig his knife courageously into the unfortunate child's vagina. From the widen hole he pulls out, one after one, the inner organs.

"While the cold wind whistled through the firs, the Creator opened his doors in the darkness and showed a pederast in"

Ultimately you'll enjoy reading this as it's so different but don't expect a happy or even an ending at all. I like a story and because ultimately it's difficult to recall much (because it's so dense) by thened, I'll drop a star.
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on 3 February 2010
Firstly, I should say that this is, for me, the greatest book ever written. You can do with that what you like. But I regretfully admit that I cannot read French, and am therefore forced to read the English translations. I have read both this and the 1993 translation (I cannot recall the translator, but you can find it on this very site, and it can be identified by its dark cover and circular title), and as an English-speaking reader, I find this particular edition to be the most satisfying. While I cannot vouch for its "accuracy", I *can* vouch for its aesthetic superiority, for whatever that's worth. Either way, you should read this life-changing book.
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on 21 December 2011
This is a classic book, and a must read for anyone interested in macabre literature. But fyi, this is not the Lykiard translation--that one is better if you can get a copy of it.
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