A Dark Magnificence

Each time I happen to recall — nostalgically — the surrealist rebellion as expressed in its original purity and intransigence, it is the personality of Antonin Artaud that stands out in its dark magnificence, it is a certain intonation in his voice that injects specks of gold into his whispering voice. . . . Antonin Artaud: I do not have to account in his stead for what he has experienced nor for what he has suffered. . . . I know that Antonin Artaud saw, the way Rimbaud, as well as Novalis and Arnim before him, had spoken of seeing. It is of little consequence, ever since the publication of Aurelia, that what was seen this way does not coincide with what is objectively visible. The real tragedy is that the society to which we are less and less honored to belong persists in making it an inexpiable crime to have gone over to the other side of the looking glass. In the name of everything that is more than ever close to my heart, I cheer the return to freedom of Antonin Artaud in a world where freedom itself must be reinvented. Beyond all the mundane denials, I place all my faith in Antonin Artaud, that man of prodigies. I salute Antonin Artaud for his passionate, heroic negation of everything that causes us to be dead while alive.

André Breton, “A Tribute to Antonin Artaud,” pp. 77-79, in Free Rein (La Clédes champs), trans. Michel Parmentier and Jacqueline d’Amboise ( Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995)

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Laurence Thompson

Laurence Thompson is an English writer. He is almost certainly drunk.

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