From Book 1: Teacher's Pet

“How can you keep track of so many people?” I asked. I was already thinking how I could devise a deck of cards to remember them all. Soupault, with his lamppost, was the ace, and Desnos was the joker, of course. I figured Artaud for the king, Péret for the knave, and this Simone couldContinue reading “From Book 1: Teacher's Pet”

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 2: Breton's Speech

We were crossing a long, grassy mall toward a soot-darkened stone edifice, very square and squat, with dull beige tracery. A dilapidated iron balcony in a recessed alcove overlooked the long rows of steps to the entrance, where two huge oak doors were propped open. I swore when I saw Youki Foujita disengage herself fromContinue reading “From Book 2: Breton's Speech”

From Book 2: The Sex Discussions

Author’s note: What Antonin Artaud had to say about sexuality can raise the hair on your neck and it did mine, at first – but you have to dig deeper to understand that the mania-catatonia that dogged him all his life extended into his sex life in the form of swings between uncontrollable erections andContinue reading “From Book 2: The Sex Discussions”

From Book 2: Desnos, the Select, and Theatre Alfred Jarry

Author’s note: I have long been frustrated with misinterpretations of Artaud merely as “mad,” a cold person, and a failure. Like Martin Esslin correcting the Beats’ version of Artaud, Kimberly Jannarone unearths the powerful admiration Artaud’s friends and colleagues had for him and I am grateful to her for restoring the Theatre Alfred Jarry toContinue reading “From Book 2: Desnos, the Select, and Theatre Alfred Jarry”

From Book 2: Insulting Priests

Consumed by guilt, I haunted the streets and the cafés, though I was beginning to tire of the crowds of sullen businessmen, and the snippy flirts who never fell in love, and the cynical young bohemians leaning over their tables to interrupt each other. Although I had not approached the Surrealist Research Bureau since thatContinue reading “From Book 2: Insulting Priests”

From Book 3: Portrait of Antonin Artaud

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 alsoContinue reading “From Book 3: Portrait of Antonin Artaud”

From Book 4: Breaking into Sainte-Anne

            I pulled her along with me then. An idea, Yvonne had given me an idea. Yvonne followed me all the way to the rue Fontaine, a long walk. “Are we going to see Aube?” she asked eagerly. I nodded and we entered the familiar foyer and went up the steps to Breton’s apartment. AubeContinue reading “From Book 4: Breaking into Sainte-Anne”

From Book 1: Poems into Plowshares

            Finally he finished, rolled up his rug and stood up, his face collapsing into brown wrinkles as he smiled. He nodded to me, and reached out to playfully slap Artaud’s cheek, again startling the young man. “Peace be with you both!” the Muslim cried, and slipped into the crowd. Artaud’s hand flew to hisContinue reading “From Book 1: Poems into Plowshares”

From Book 4: Domnine

I understand that Paule Thévenin’s daughter Domnine is still alive. This section is offered with respect and affection.             “Do you know what Artaud is doing now?” Breton told me. “He is learning his ABCs.”             “What?” “He feared he could not write anymore, and he said this to Paule Thévenin and her husband inContinue reading “From Book 4: Domnine”