From Book 3: Mexico and Trotsky

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 atContinue reading “From Book 3: Mexico and Trotsky”

From Book 3: A Challenge

            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 asContinue reading “From Book 3: A Challenge”

From Book 3: Desnos and Youki

            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 likeContinue reading “From Book 3: Desnos and Youki”

From Book 3: The Lecture at the Sorbonne

            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 MicheletContinue reading “From Book 3: The Lecture at the Sorbonne”

From Book 3: Schubert and Syphilis

            It had grown quite dark, and the room was warm and close. He turned on the lamp, and there was a knock at the door. Artaud gave me an acid smile, then strode to the door in his bare feet and without my permission opened it. I half-expected him to make his escape then.Continue reading “From Book 3: Schubert and Syphilis”

From Book 3: A Night on the rue Mazarine

            Artaud was galvanized after his return to Paris. He wrote to and met with Breton frequently, but something about him was different. Now he had Cécile Schramme, who had waited for him. Everyone noticed the remarkable effect that this young Belgian girl seemed to have on the thirty-nine year-old man. He became energetic, humorousContinue reading “From Book 3: A Night on the rue Mazarine”

From Book 3: The Cenci

            In May, Louis, Anita, Justine and I attended the premiere of The Cenci with Desnos and Youki. It was a gala performance with many society members in attendance, including the Prince of Greece. The nobility stumbled about in the cramped foyer alongside the intellectuals who jabbered with their berets pressed close together. The venue,Continue reading “From Book 3: The Cenci”

From Book 3: Gaston Ferdière

As soon as he was settled, Desnos invited Justine and me to his new, shabby flat near the Boulevard Montparnasse for a dinner party with Artaud and Louis and a new acquaintance, a medical student named Gaston Ferdière. After only a few minutes of speaking with this Ferdière, I decided that he was the mostContinue reading “From Book 3: Gaston Ferdière”

From Book 3: Hazing

While working one day at my desk, which was separated from the bank lobby only by a partition, I looked up suddenly into the grinning, absurd face of Benjamin Péret. “Kind sir,” he oozed from that wide mouth of his while Breton hung back to laugh at me, “the authorities have decreed that every bankContinue reading “From Book 3: Hazing”

From Book 3: Lise Deharme

This is the night of Balthus’s suicide attempt. Previous scene here. “Desnos really wants to get Artaud into radio,” Deharme said gently to me as the car pulled forward, guided by our faceless driver. “Artaud has a great voice for it; his portrayal of Fantômas was unforgettable! I’ve appreciated working with him. It’s a pityContinue reading “From Book 3: Lise Deharme”