Antonin Artaud (1896-1948), perhaps best known as a dramatic theorist, is an important but extremely difficult writer. This book studies the development of his thinking, from the early texts of the 1920s through to the acclaimed but lesser known 1940s writings, on such issues as the body, theology, language, identity and the search for an elusive and unsayable self-presence, and then uses this as a framework in which to read his late texts. New attention is paid tothe processes by which his texts generate meanings, the logics that hold these meanings together, and the internal contradictions of the late poetry. This allows a new picture to emerge that accounts for the coherent if unequal development of his ideas as well as the drive towards systematisation tobe found in even his most opaque writings. By returning to the texts and focusing on the specific terms of Artaud's writing, as well as their gleeful resourcefulness and ludicity, it is argued that Artaud needs to be considered not as a contestatory psychotic but as a writer of the first magnitude. Accessible to both scholar and newcomer, this illuminating and original study will refocus critical thought on both the development of Artaud's thinking and the significance of his oft-neglected later work.
- Publication Date:
- 28 / 07 / 2005