Friday, June 29, 2012

Lautréamont - Maldoror

Les Chants de Maldoror is based on a character called Maldoror, a figure of unrelenting evil who has forsaken God and mankind. The book combines a violent narrative with vivid and often surrealistic imagery.

The critic Alex De Jonge writes, '"Lautreamont forces his readers to stop taking their world for granted. He shatters the complacent acceptance of the reality proposed by their cultural traditions and make them see that reality for what it is: an unreal nightmare all the more hair-raising because the sleeper believes he is awake."'

Comte de Lautréamont was the pseudonym of Isidore-Lucien Ducasse (4 April 1846 – 24 November 1870), an Uruguayan-born French poet.

His only works, Les Chants de Maldoror and Poésies, had a major influence on modern literature, particularly on the Surrealists and the Situationists. He died at the age of 24.

In 1917, French writer Philippe Soupault discovered a copy of Les Chants de Maldoror in the mathematics section of a small Parisian bookshop, near the military hospital to which he had been admitted. In his memoirs Soupault wrote:

"By the light of a candle that was permitted to me, I began reading. It was like an enlightenment. In the morning I read the Chants again, convinced that I had dreamed.... The day after, André Breton came to visit me. I gave him the book and asked him to read it. The following day he brought it back, enthusiastic as I had been."

Due to this find, Lautréamont was introduced to the Surrealists. Soon they called him their prophet. As one of the poètes maudits (accursed poets), he was elevated to the Surrealist Panthéon beside Baudelaire and Rimbaud, and acknowledged as a direct precursor to Surrealism. André Gide regarded him—even more than Rimbaud—as the most significant figure, as the "gate-master of tomorrow's literature," meriting Breton and Soupault "to have recognized and announced the literary and ultra-literary importance of the amazing Lautréamont."

The title of an object by American artist Man Ray, called L'énigme d'Isidore Ducasse (The Enigma of Isidore Ducasse), created in 1920, contains a reference to a famous line in the 6th canto. Lautréamont describes a young boy as "beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella!"Similarly, Breton often used this line as an example of Surrealist dislocation.

Maldoror inspired many artists: Fray De Geetere, Salvador Dalí, Man Ray, Jacques Houplain, Jindřich Štyrský, René Magritte, and Georg Baselitz. Individual works have been produced by Max Ernst, Victor Brauner, Óscar Domínguez, Espinoza, André Masson, Joan Miró, Aimé Césaire, Roberto Matta, Wolfgang Paalen, Kurt Seligmann, and Yves Tanguy. The artist Amedeo Modigliani always carried a copy of the book with him and used to walk around Montparnasse quoting from it.

In direct reference to Lautréamont's "chance meeting on a dissection table", Ernst defined the structure of the surrealist painting: "A linking of two realities that by all appearances have nothing to link them, in a setting that by all appearances does not fit them."

Félix Vallotton and Dalí made "imaginary" portraits of Lautréamont, since no photograph was available.
[ source: wikipedia ]

Photos are from the Greek adaptation of the book, from Bijoux de kant

lautréamont - maldoror Eγκώμιο Mιας Mεταμόρφωσης

Μετάφραση: Στρατής Πασχάλης
Σκηνοθεσία – Σκηνογραφία: Γιάννης Σκουρλέτης
Μουσική: Κώστας Δαλακούρας
Προσαρμογή Κειμένου – Δραματουργία: Γιώργος Λαγουρός
Γλυπτική: Περικλής Πραβήτας
Βοηθός Σκηνοθέτη: Σαμψών Φύτρος
Καλλιτεχνική Διεύθυνση: Αλέξιος Παπαζαχαρίας
Ερμηνεία: Κρις Ραντάνοφ

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