Antonin Artaud : Years of Incarceration | by Stephen Barber

The asylum incarceration which Artaud underwent in the years from 1937 to 1946 has as much contradiction and productivity as the other phases of his life. But it was certainly the most deeply painful phase. The internment began with a period of self-preoccupation which Artaud broke only to berate his doctors and to demand external confirmation for the hallucinations he was experiencing. During the early part of Artaud’s internment, at Rouen and Sainte-Anne, his behaviour gives the impression of great austerity and of a profound, self-sufficient calm. Although he spent his time in the company of the many different kinds…

Antonin Artaud, Surrealism and the Void; by Stephen Barber

  Artaud believed that every birth coincides with a killing. Antoine Marie Joseph Artaud was born at eight in the morning of 4 September 1896, at 15 rue du Jardin des Plantes, near the Marseilles zoo. The rue du Jardin des Plantes has since been renamed the rue des Trois Frères Carasso. Artaud himself, on many occasions, was to change and distort the name under which he was baptised into the Roman Catholic Church. He adopted numerous pseudonyms, such as Eno Dailor for some of his early Surrealist texts. Before his journey to Ireland in 1937, he styled himself ‘The…

“Pierre Guyotat: The Matter of Writing“; by Stephen Barber

  PIERRE GUYOTAT: THE MATTER OF WRITING In 1969, the French literary journal Tel Quel published an extract from Pierre Guyotat’s work in progress, Eden, Eden, Eden, under the title Bordels of Butchery. After the book’s publication in 1970, it was subjected to governmental censorship in France, was reviled by large sections of the Parisian literary establishment, and became one of the great divisive scandals of postwar French writing. The participants of Tel Quel, in collaboration with supporters and associates of Guyotat, mounted a defence of the book. Michel Foucault wrote: ‘Guyotat has written a book in a language of…

Antonin Artaud / Ivry – Blows and Bombs; by Stephen Barber

When Artaud arrived at the Austerlitz station in Paris and shook hands with Ferdière for the last time, he had twenty-two months still to live. The amount and intensity of work he was to accomplish in that time proved to be enormous. Until that point, Artaud had largely been preoccupied with each of his activities separately: writing, drawing, theatre direction, film projects and acting, and drug intoxication. This changed completely in the last period of his life. Certainly aware that he was pressed for time, he worked constantly, night and day, in all situations and surroundings – on metro trains,…