From Book 4: Trotsky and Nusch

Author’s note: I really, really mourn Nusch Éluard, too. She was Marvelous. Writing this novel series about Artaud and Desnos has led me to love – and to mourn – so many other people: André Breton (though I’m conflicted about him), Benjamin Péret, Paul Éluard, Picasso, Cocteau, Jacques Prével, Paule Thévenin, Jean Paulhan who alsoContinue reading “From Book 4: Trotsky and Nusch”

From Book 4: Blackmailing Fouks

            That evening at dinner—not after it as most people would but during it as Desnos would—we read through The New Revelations of Being, the work I hated and felt was the least like Artaud’s voice. In reading it again of course I changed my mind. Artaud certainly believed his apocalyptic visions. According to RenéContinue reading “From Book 4: Blackmailing Fouks”

From Book 4: Sainte-Anne

            In early 1938, at the urging of Artaud’s family and with the intercession of Jean Paulhan, Antonin Artaud was finally transferred from the Quatre-Mares asylum at Rouen to Sainte-Anne, an asylum south of Montparnasse, that mini-walled city near the studios of Sonia Mossé and René Thomas. First Artaud’s mother, now almost seventy years old,Continue reading “From Book 4: Sainte-Anne”

From Book 3: Hit the Jesuit

            Louis patted his pockets, gave me a stupid grin, and went out the door again to bum a cigarette from Desnos. As I approached the corner table, Artaud looked up and his face showed visible relief. “Good! It’s you,” he said, sounding so glad I suppressed the urge to look behind me. “Do meContinue reading “From Book 3: Hit the Jesuit”

From Book 2: Josette and Youki

            Artaud’s own hair, neatly slicked back earlier, had slid loose because of the heat and now hung around his face. It looked strange, for his hair still had a few centimeters to grow until it attained the length it had been a year ago; it fell only to his cheekbones, a chestnut bowl ofContinue reading “From Book 2: Josette and Youki”

From Book 3: Allons-y!

         In the spring of 1932, Breton was exerting more control over an ever-younger coterie, guiding the group’s activities and dominating the discussions. Yet, this did not appear to be entirely his choice. At the Prophete, Justine and I overheard him snarl in a corner to Tristan Tzara (“that Hungarian homunculus shaped like an anarchist’s bomb,”Continue reading “From Book 3: Allons-y!”

Link: Is Ferdière Reliable?

Update: I’m going to have to concede that there are other witnesses to Artaud not always being so hygienic as described by Cécile: Robert Desnos and Genica Athanasiou also describe filthy habits, and the actors who were offended by his body odor were not “on tour” but sharing a dressing room. In C’était Antonin Artaud,Continue reading “Link: Is Ferdière Reliable?”

From Book 3: Why Is He Like This?

            The explosion of health in Artaud over the near-year subsided as toward autumn he again began to experience the headaches and the spinal pain, and most alarming to me the facial cramps which also affected his tongue, a droning in his ears that made him deaf to me, and an extreme intolerance to stimuliContinue reading “From Book 3: Why Is He Like This?”

From Book 3: Our Hobourgeois Needs Help

            While staring into space at Louis’s table in the Dôme one day Artaud’s eyes happened to focus on Genica Athanasiou, who had been pushed toward us by the noonday crowd and was trying to inch past without his noticing. Louis looked up from the sketch he was doing, and I put down the bookContinue reading “From Book 3: Our Hobourgeois Needs Help”

From Book 3: Vampyr, Anita and Denoël

            In September, the film Vampyr finally came to Paris. It was the opening attraction of a new cinema on the Boulevard Raspail. Like old times the five of us—me, Justine, Desnos, Louis, and Artaud—went to see it. There were actually seven of us, since Artaud brought Sonia and Louis brought a friend of Artaud’sContinue reading “From Book 3: Vampyr, Anita and Denoël”