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Watchfiends & Rack Screams: Works From the Final Period Paperback – January 2, 2004

3.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In French poetic thinking, Artaud is one of the so-called poetes maudits, those cursed creators, whose immediate predecessors were Rimbaud and Baudelaire. Artaud, the writer-dramatist-actor, has been, in spite of his weird, violent, incendiary style, a visionary and a seminal influence on French avant-garde circles. Eshelman and Bador present in this anthology a sufficiently representative quantity of Artaud's writings, including two influential letters, poems, and a short essay on his drawings, all from the period 1945 to 1948. The poems, "Artaud the Momo" (slang for "fool") and "Here Lies," written during and following his incarceration in an asylum, reconstruct his mental state. There is little doubt that his poems contain an element of masterful madness, reflecting his inner complexities and what he has endured. His last work, "To Have Done with the Judgment of God," is a showcase of Artaud's tremendous literary talent. The bilingual presentations and the lucid introduction prove helpful. Recommended for literary collections.?Ali Houissa, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N.Y.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Exact Change (January 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1878972189
  • ISBN-13: 978-1878972187
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #618,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This anthology documents work from Artaud's final period spent mainly in a mental institution. The poems are by far the strangest that I have encountered. Filled with odd incantatory stanzas fashioned in Artaud's own language, the poetry and prose in this collection requires some patience from the reader. Some of the poems/prose in this collection I found virtually impenetrable (e.g., "Artaud the Momo") but this only seems to heighten and augment my appreciative awe for Artaud as an artist/poet/prose magician. Even Artaud's letters venture into strange and unknown territory as they combine prose, poetry, and Artaud's own creative argot to produce an inexplicably chaotic amalgamation that can count as a literary genre unto itself.
Although incredibly weird and convoluted, Artaud's work from this tumultuous period still manages to shine by dint of its strange qualities and inherent loopiness. If you happen to be interested in this type of enigmatic, dada-esque poetry/prose pick up this volume ASAP.
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Format: Paperback
I am a huge Artaud fan. He was a true visionary, a prophet of brutal truth in a lazy, complacent world. So I was really looking forward to reading this new anthology of works from his ultra-disturbing late period. But I have to say I found it disappointing. The translations, by noted language poet Clayton Eshleman, sound stilted and wooden to my ear, favoring cleverness over raw power. The exhaustively researched notes don't quite make up for this poetic deficiency. I turned to my beloved copy of City Light's "Artaud Anthology" (one of my all-time favorite books) and did line by line comparisons of Eshleman's work with the brilliant Ferlinghetti and David Rattray translations in the older book, and there was just no comparison. It really isn't surprising that the 60's beat-era poet-translators just had a much better grasp of Artaud's earth-shattering radicalism than poets of today. The City Lights one is the keeper for sure (it's still in print): take that one with you to a desert island and I guarantee you won't even want to be rescued and brought back to "civilization."
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Format: Paperback
here it is. the greatest collection of artauds poetry ever translated. of course it isnt as complete as that susan sontag one, but it is the best translations of his best poems and you dont have to drag your eyes through all that theatre theory even though it is brilliant some of us are more intrested in the none dramatic aspects of artaud. One of the highlights of watchfiends is the inclusion of parts of Suppots et Supplications, artauds last book length work, dictated to his secratery at the height of his madness. it has yet to be translated in full so to be able to read parts of it is a real treat. when i go to the park...when i think of all the pulleys and levers that are a complicated system which helps me to pray, i... listen, do you like poetry that creates a life or death situation for the author as well as the reader? im going to tell you a secret...this is one of the 3ree or 4our books that i would like to tear up into tiny pieces and inject into my hippocampus. ARTAUDARTAUDARTAUD. have i made myself clear?
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Format: Paperback
Clayton Eshleman's translations are the best that have been done of Artaud - the only ones that seize the physical power of Artaud's work - and I think the book should be readily available. The great merit of this book is that it gives overwhelming emphasis to the most vital part of Artaud's work: his last period.
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