Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Heliogabalus; or, the Crowned Anarchist Paperback – October 26, 2006

2.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Paperback, October 26, 2006
$409.60

Featured Titles in Fiction
Beloved
Beloved
Beloved
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Heliogabalus is Artaud's greatest and most revolutionary masterpiece: an incendiary work that reveals both the divine cruelty of the Roman Emperor and that of Artaud himself." - Stephen Barber"

About the Author

Antonin Artaud is one of the most deeply influential writers of the 20th Century, known for his invention of the Theater Of Cruelty.

Alexis Lykiard, Greek-born and living in England, is best known for his translation of Lautreamont’s Maldoror, a text now adopted in many US universities. He has translated several other classic works of Surrealism, including works by Celine, Apollinaire and Aragon.

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: Solar Books (October 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971457808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971457805
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,199,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is Antonin Artaud's prose-history of the emperor Heliogabalus in which he explores philosophically the world of sperm cults, sun-worship, castration rituals, sodomy and extravagant theatrics in which the child king rose to his bizarre and decadent reign. This book has only recently become available in the English language - a tremendous contribution for anglophone readers. Rest assured that Artaud's arcane poetry has been translated with mastery by Lykiard. An excellent read for anyone interested in themes of anarchy, mysticism, or avant-garde theater.
Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Heliogabalus is a book that tells us much more about its author than about the eponymous Roman emperor of the 3rd century. Artaud uses the life of Heliogabalus as a framework on which to assemble his ideas on religion, history, love and art. He presents his subject, not as the hedonist and sexual pervert depicted in traditional histories, but as the solar godhead of a mystical religion of unity. The emperor's cruelties and excesses represent, not sadism and self-indulgence, but revolutionary statements.

Artaud's fervid prose is, at times, disjointed and barely rational. He expounds at length on his theories of paganism and Christianity, on the dualities of God and man, male and female, spirit and matter. He argues more or less that such dualities are false constructs, and proceeds to depict his androgynous hero as the "crowned anarchist," a revolutionary seeking to establish unity through chaos.

Artaud's reasoning is anything but clear, and no simple digest of his thesis is possible. Just when he sounds most rational, he is apt to fly off into a sincere discussion of numerology, astrology, or alchemy. The result is a curious blend of religion, philosophy, mysticism, and a bit of very dubious history. This is an intriguing and amusing book that makes me want to learn a bit more about Artaud and his artistic milieu.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
What happens when a French surrealist playwright is commissioned by a Paris publisher to write a biography of a particularly scandalous Roman emperor, then spends several hours doing research in libraries, then dictates his impressions? Artaud combines elements of essay, novel, and biography to produce a big surrealist mess.

We begin with some sensationalistic (and largely made-up) business about the emperor Elagabalus and his family, then Artaud digresses about "oriental" religion, then it's back to the story of Elagabalus (again, largely invented out of whole cloth by Artaud). The ancient sources are untrustworthy enough; Artaud sees fit to add more layers of made-up nonsense about this most maligned of all emperors.

Displaying his "scholarly" insight into ancient religion, Artaud coughs up endless gobbledygook. No one can do gobbledygook like a French faux-intellectual:

"Whether or not one believes in a race of Superhuman Teachers arriving from the pole at the time of the first subsidence of the earth, and who seem to glide across it and walk upon the Indies, one must acknowledge the incursion, in some distant prehistoric period, of a white race which spread all over the earth emblems, rites and strange sacred objects in the guise of supernatural weapons."

Really, must one? A little of this goes a long, long way.

Does Artaud's work have any value for the reader interested in history? Leonardo de Arrizabalaga y Prado (author of the excellent The Emperor Elagabalus: Fact or Fiction?) sums it up nicely: "Such ravings would be harmless enough except that they are presented with a pretense of scholarly apparatus.
Read more ›
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By C. Jones on August 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you buy this book, be prepared for DULL. Lots of boring filler about the religious landscape at the time and not that much content about Heliogabalus until the second half of the book. I actually tried to read this book but eventually gave up and turned to skimming it. It's now in the pile of books heading for the used book store.
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?