9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2007
'Lautreamont and Sade' is a compilation of two essays, each focusing solely upon the titular authors, the Marquis de Sade and the Comte de Lautreamont.
While Blanchot's essay on Sade consistently reveals new insight into the work of this controversial deviant philosopher, his examination of Lautreamont (which is considerably longer for reasons obvious to anyone familiar with the two) is the true gem, being a much-needed and all-too-rare analysis of the two books that the enigmatic author wrote before his death at the age of 24: 'Maldoror' and 'Poems.'
'Maldoror' is the work to which the most time is devoted, as it is the more difficult of the two and, according to Blanchot, the first part of a two-part dialectic of good and evil of which the second was the oft-overlooked 'Poems.' 'Maldoror,' which consists of strange, often paradoxical metaphors and off-the-wall symbolism is given its long-overdue tribute here, as Blanchot attempts to give his interpretation of what is often referred to as the first true surrealist novel. He "decrypts" modestly, constantly reminding the reader (and perhaps himself) that 'Maldoror' is ultimately a work that, at the end of the day, speaks for itself in that no one save for the long-dead author himself could possibly explain the method behind the madness. Yet Blanchot still manages to make as much sense of the book as is humanly possible, and in reading the essay one can't help but get the feeling that one is reading the third and final chapter in Lautreamont's epic masterpiece. Highly recommended.