Antonin Artaud: The Scum of the Soul (Palgrave Studies in Modern European Literature)

Antonin Artaud: The Scum of the Soul (Palgrave Studies in Modern European Literature)

Language: English

Pages: 190

ISBN: 113731057X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This book serves as analysis of the aesthetics of materiality in the multifaceted work of Antonin Artaud, one of Twentieth-Century France's most provocative and influential figures, spanning literature, performance, art, cinema, media and critical theory.

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language. Artaud writes: ‘Il ne me faudrait qu’un seul mot parfois, un simple petit mot sans importance’ (‘at times all I would need is a single word, a simple little word of no importance’).18 This word, he continues is ‘un mot-témoin, un mot précis, un mot subtil, un mot bien macéré dans mes moelles’ (‘a word of witness, a precise word, a subtle word, a word well steeped in my marrow’).19 The problem is that all the words Artaud finds, he claims, act as 16 Antonin Artaud a barrier to the

real space involving the interaction of bodies, than in the text. Yet, as we will see in the rest of this chapter, Artaud infused all of his work with these magical, mystical properties, and incantation was to have an important place in this. It comes as no surprise, then, that following the failure of his theatre in practical terms, Artaud went in search of what he perceived to be magical cultures, hoping to find the true enactment of a language capable of acting effectively and transforming the

nuances of the soul, in its interior life’).47 Like Artaud, she saw the potential power of the cinema in its ability to express inner sensations, and to communicate with the world through the body describing it as: art de la vie intérieure et de la sensation, si étranger au théâtre et à la littérature, expression nouvelle donnée à la pensée… un art non tributaire des autres arts, un art original avec son sens propre, un art qui fait de la réalité, s’en évade en faisant corps avec elle: le cinéma

thought, which is what all of Artaud’s work addresses, is its physical and corporeal aspect. The cinema thus offers us a privileged starting point for the investigation of the relationship between body and thought because it insists so much upon bodily presence. Deleuze writes: ‘Le corps n’est plus l’obstacle qui sépare la pensée d’elle-même, ce qu’elle doit surmonter pour arriver à penser. C’est au contraire ce dans quoi elle plonge ou doit plonger, pour atteindre à l’impensé, c’est-à-dire à la

reading, looking at, or, perhaps more accurately, being confronted with the work. Artaud displayed an interest in art from an early age, but, just as with theatre, cinema and poetry, this would develop into a questioning and ultimately an utter rejection of the very terms under which art is considered to be ‘art’. In the early 1920s Artaud began frequenting André Masson’s workshop, and was writing short texts and reviews of artists such as Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee. Artaud’s 1929 collection

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