All Excerpts

  • From Book 3: Portrait of Antonin Artaud

    November 27, 2019 by

    This is based on research of course, but it’s eerie how much I guessed before it was confirmed by research.             He was not what I expected, even after all these years. I discovered there was always more to learn about Antonin Artaud. Like me he experienced sudden vertigo, especially at high places but also… Read more

  • From Book 2: Napoléon

    August 6, 2020 by

                The role of Roderick Usher went to another actor, but Jean-Paul Marat in Gance’s film Napoléon belonged to Antonin Artaud. We attended the premier held at the Paris Opera. Napoléon Vu par Abel Gance, originally intended as a six-film series, was now a four-hour epic film promised to be on par with D.W. Griffith’s… Read more

  • From Book 3: Mexico and Trotsky

    August 4, 2020 by

    Days later, when I again visited the studio, Artaud had the gall to tease Sonia and me in front of Anita about knowing how to show an attractive young lady a good time on her first visit to Paris. When Anita in her effervescent voice demanded the details, Sonia threw a bottle of ink at… Read more

  • From Book 2: Escaping the Police

    July 31, 2020 by

                Hands tore at me and I threw my fists out blindly, making contact with eyes and cheeks. The air cleared and I crawled onstage. Now Breton was nowhere to be seen. I hauled Desnos up by the arm. Holding his handkerchief against the flow of blood, Desnos stumbled in the direction I shoved him… Read more

  • From Book 2: Saint-Pol-Roux’s Banquet

    July 29, 2020 by

                One evening, while Catherine sat with Suzanne in the dining room planning a supper for our father’s birthday, Franz on the sofa sheepishly unfolded a few old newspaper articles he’d saved. “This should interest you,” he whispered. “Surrealism’s biggest public scandal.” We sat quietly together to read them. The event was an honorary banquet… Read more

  • From Book 2: Morocco

    July 25, 2020 by

                We stood there looking at each other with the door wide open. From the auditorium a roar of clapping and boos accompanied the appearance of a man onstage, a genteel-looking old peacock obviously accustomed to more civilized public gatherings and who now had the thankless job of introducing André Breton. His tremulous voice was… Read more

  • From Book 3: A Challenge

    July 13, 2020 by

                The poor woman now laid her large, beringed fingers on my arm and was thrusting a letter before my eyes. Her name was Valentine Hugo. I remembered the name as the costume designer for The Passion of Joan of Arc. There it was, in Breton’s unmistakable handwriting: I will love you so long as… Read more

  • From Book 3: Desnos and Youki

    April 20, 2020 by

                The weekend—two days of rain, two days of revelation—was over and now the sun was out, drying up the puddles in the streets, puddles that had caught the glitter and frivolous paper streamers of some Montparnasse street party. The sun turned the glistening streets to dry pavement and raised my fears. Artaud was like… Read more

  • From Book 3: Never!

    April 12, 2020 by

    After the attempted suicide of Valentine Hugo finally faded from the gossip columns, they filled with reports that Foujita had lost millions in a game of baccarat. Youki told Desnos it was not true, but nevertheless she and Foujita received a notice of back taxes owed. When Foujita sent his new secretary to the tax… Read more

  • From Book 3: The Lecture at the Sorbonne

    April 2, 2020 by

                On the night of Artaud’s lecture on “Theatre and the Plague,” Desnos had his radio show to do, and Louis was showing his paintings to an interested buyer, and I could not find Sonia or Anita, so I went to the Sorbonne alone and located Dr. Allendy’s lecture hall.             The square Amphithéâtre Michelet… Read more

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