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”

From Book 3: A Tragic Misdiagnosis

Author’s note: In adolescence Artaud was diagnosed with hereditary syphilis. He denied this and I doubt he had it. However, Artaud sought out doctors for various cures that may have done him even more damage. This paper describes the consequences of a tragic misdiagnosis.             At last I convinced Artaud to see my own doctor,Continue reading “From Book 3: A Tragic Misdiagnosis”

From Book 3: Let Us Péret

            The next day Artaud took me to see a friend of his who was in Paris for a few weeks, Jean Painlevé. The man had both filmed and co-starred with Artaud in a cinematic snippet in 1927, Mathuselam or the Eternal Bourgeois, which was interspersed with the live performance of a play of theContinue reading “From Book 3: Let Us Péret”

From Book 3: Nin and the Cane

Author’s note: Artaud’s cane disturbed people, but Breton had one (and he used it as a weapon), Anaïs Nin’s father had one (and killed a cat with it), and Nin’s lover/psychoanalyst René Allendy beat her with one – but only Antonin Artaud got locked up in asylums. Though Artaud’s later embrace of celibacy (or shamContinue reading “From Book 3: Nin and the Cane”

From Book 3: The Sins of Nin, Part Two

Again, I use the diary of Anais Nin as a resource because I think it accurate about events, but not interpretations.             Franz, for his part, came to the supper table at night irritated at the French attitude toward money. “I’m sick of their peasant thrift,” he grumbled. “All these hard-headed villagers are flocking toContinue reading “From Book 3: The Sins of Nin, Part Two”