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INTRODUCTION

Antonin Artaud was born in Marseilles in 1896. He was an actor, poet,


playwright, director and dramatic theorist. Associated with the Surrealists in the
1920s, he founded, in 1926, the Thtre Alfred Jarry, named after his fellow
French writer, best known for the satirical play Ubu-Roi. Artaud later abandoned
the Surrealist movement because of its involvement with politics. He advocated a
theatre that dispensed with narrative and psychological realism in favour of
dreams and the interior obsessions of the mind. He distrusted words and spoken
dialogue, calling instead for a language of gestures, shapes, light and movement
his concept of total theatre. Artaud was a major influence on avant-garde
writers such as Beckett, Ionesco, Genet and Albee.
For somebody who wrote very little in the way of theatrical pieces (plays would
be a largely redundant term for Artaud, The Cenci excepted), directed very little,
had next to no success on the stage, and left a body of work open to wild
extremes of interpretation, Antonin Artaud is a rare phenomenon.
Add to this the fact that he spent a great deal of his life addicted to drugs or
locked up in asylums or attempting numerous, unsuccessful, detoxification
programmes; or he was to be found acting in films, or being expelled from the
Surrealists, or disappearing into the hills of Mexico in search of the Tarahumara
Indians, or arriving in Ireland with a walking stick he claimed to have belonged
to Saint Patrick and eventually being deported, it is a wonder he had the time or
lucidity to write anything at all.
However, not only did he manage to produce work but he produced an
enormous amount scenarios, letters, poems, manifestos, articles, drawings. And,
moreover, Artaudian has become a term for some forms and styles of theatrical
practice which is almost instantaneously understandable if usually in a wholly
misapprehended manner.
At the centre of his theatrical thought is the concept of cruelty. What he meant
by it, in possibly over-simplified terms, is:
Existence is evil;
Goodness is an act of will, an effort;
To live well, or to live a good life requires an act of will, of great effort, to
counteract the inherent evil abroad in the universe;
Therefore: it is cruel to have to continually make the effort to live without
evil.

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INTRODUCTION

His theatrical means include words being replaced or reduced in significance by


gesture, incantation, shouts and groans; use of ancient or newly manufactured
musical instruments to create vibrations and unbearingly piercing sound;
exaggerated props and puppets (thirty foot high effigies of King Lears beard in
the storm); a redefined relationship between actor and audience and many other
ideas.
Theatre, in other words, was a place of ritual, ceremony and healing; church and
hospital. It was a place where an audience could exorcise the demon of cruelty; a
place where an audience could both contract the plague and be cured of it a
sort of absinthe-ridden Aristotelian tragedy on a combination of laudanum and
holy water.
This bibliography attempts to list resources which might help students and
teachers make some sense of the rantings and ravings of this madman; the poetic
and practical outpourings of this genuine theatrical visionary.
Perhaps what remains of Artaud his own work and the reminiscences of
contemporaries is not the true essence of his proposals for theatre. Perhaps the
only accurate representation of Artaudian theatre was Artauds life itself. Perhaps
the Theatre of Crueltys one and only performance lasted from 4 September 1896
to 4 March 1948.
Much of the initial contact the English-speaking world had with Artaud was
through the Calder & Boyars publications of the sixties and seventies, translated
by Victor Corti. These have been re-issued many times, mostly through Calder
Publications (since the publishers split into separate John Calder and Marion
Boyars publishing houses). Some of these later editions and revisions have
included Alastair Hamilton as a translator. Much of the Calder catalogue is
published in the USA by Riverrun Press Inc.
American publications such as Susan Sontags selections and the Grove Press
editions have tended to use different translators, in these cases, respectively,
Helen Weaver and Mary C Richards. Latterly, translations by Clayton Eshleman
have become popular with some critics. Stephen Barber, for instance (Antonin
Artaud: Blows and Bombs, and Artaud: The Screaming Body, below), apart from
providing his own translations for his own books, rates Eshleman far and away
the best translator of Artaud, even suggesting in The Screaming Body that all other
translations are so bad they should be avoided like the plague (p.123).
Those who have French can also read Artaud in his native language in the
Oeuvres Compltes (Paris: Gallimard), and decide for themselves which
translation they prefer.

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WORKS BY ARTAUD

SECTION 1

Artaud, Antonin, Collected Works, Vol. 1, trans. Victor Corti, London: Calder,
1993
This contains various items of interest, including correspondence with the
poet Jacques Rivire, prose and poetry.
Artaud, Antonin, Collected Works, Vol. 2, trans. Victor Corti, London: Calder,
1993
Includes Artaud on The Alfred Jarry Theatre, scenarios and production plans.
Artaud, Antonin, Collected Works, Vol. 3, trans. Victor Corti, London: Calder,
1990
A volume with cinema work, interviews and letters.
Artaud, Antonin, Collected Works, Vol. 4, trans. Victor Corti, London: Calder,
1993
Certainly the volume most worth buying for this unit of the Advanced Higher
Drama course. Its contents include The Theatre and Its Double, from which
many items can be examined, most notably, Theatre and the Plague, On
Balinese Theatre, and both First and Second Manifestos of The Theatre of
Cruelty. Also included in this volume is the text of The Cenci.
Artaud, Antonin, Collected Works, Vol. 5, trans. Victor Corti, London: Calder,
1993
Of interest for Correspondence with Andr Breton, the Surrealist chieftain
who elbowed out the rather more than Surrealist Artaud from the movement.
Artaud, Antonin, Collected Works, Vol. 6, trans. Victor Corti, London: Calder,
1993
(As this bibliography goes to print, both this volume and volume 5 have not
yet been re-issued in the most up-to-date Calder catalogue, a 19992000 print
run which has hit some delays.)

Other editions
Artaud, Antonin, Antonin Artaud Anthology (ed. Jack Hirschman), San
Francisco: City Lights Books, 1965
A selection of poems and essays.
Artaud, Antonin, The Cenci, trans. Simon Watson Taylor, London: Calder &
Boyars, 1969

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Artaud, Antonin, The Theatre and Its Double, trans. Mary C Richards, New
York: Grove Press/Atlantic, 1972
Artaud, Antonin, The Theatre and Its Double, trans. Victor Corti and Alastair
Hamilton, London: Calder, 1995
Artaud, Antonin, The Peyote Dance, trans. Helen Weaver, New York: Farrar,
Straus & Giroux, 1975
The fruits of Artauds disturbing 1936 trip to Mexico in search of the
Tarahumaras and their ritualistic dance.
Artaud, Antonin, Four Texts, trans. Clayton Eshleman and Norman Glass, Los
Angeles: Panjandrum Books, 1982
Contains To Have Done With the Judgement of God.
Artaud, Antonin, Selected Writings (ed. Susan Sontag), trans. Helen Weaver,
Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988
Artaud, Antonin, Watchfiends and Rock Screams: Works from the Final
Period, trans. Clayton Eshleman with Bernard Bador, Boston: Exact Change,
1995
Another volume which includes a translation of the controversial radio play To
Have Done With the Judgement of God.
Artaud, Antonin, The Death of Satan, trans. V Corti, London: Calder, 1996

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THE WORLD WIDE WEB

SECTION 2

One of the dangers of the World Wide Web is that anybody can say whatever they
please about anything at all. It is an unregulated mass of opinions, some
wonderfully academic, some woefully shoddy and infantile. Many are,
unsurprisingly, in between. It is democracy in virtual action.
Websites have a habit of changing addresses, changing names, changing content
or disappearing completely. This is the nature of the Internet; this bibliography
offers some sites as examples of what existed at the time of going to print.
Typing Artaud or Theatre of Cruelty into your search engine can throw up
many useful and interesting sites. It can also lead you to numerous leagues or
associations campaigning against cruelty to animals all over the world; a letter
from a Yugoslavian actress asking Glenda Jackson to stop the NATO bombing of
her homeland because Belgrade had become a theatre of cruelty; musicians or
industrial magnates whose names are also Artaud; twenty-six entries taking you to
the same site (and it is always one with no English language version), etc. On the
Net you must learn to be patient because nobody can hear you scream.
American, Canadian and Australian universities all love sharing information or
blowing their own trumpets, depending on your point of view. British academia
maintains an almost eerie silence, as if to broadcast their ideas is somehow to
devalue them.
Much of what exists is not linked to any academic institution. This need not
necessarily prove a danger, though it usually is. Look out for refereed articles
(those scrutinised by other academics and given the quality-assured all clear)
though these are often in sites to which you must subscribe. Plug in your
modem, dial up your provider (or ISP), ignore all the americanised spelling and
punch in those website addresses (or URLs).
There is a great deal of tedious nonsense out there in cyberspace but there is
also a great deal to admire and enjoy. Happy hunting.
http://www.offroads.com/artaud/home.html
A site maintained by Arnaud Hubert and dedicated as a resource for all who
admire or study Artauds life and work.
There are two main sections: a Documents and a Rubriques section. The
Documents (many of which are in French) section includes a shortened
version of an MA dissertation submitted to the University of Birmingham in

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1995 by Gerard Paul Sharpling titled Artauds Theatre of Cruelty and the
family romance: some preliminary thoughts, which attempts to link or, at
least, reduce the distinction between, Artauds life and his work. Sharpling
does this with reference to Freuds concept of the family romance. A fairly
interesting read.
The Documents section also contains The Reinvention of the Human Face by
Donald Gardner a series of talks given by the actor and poet in Amsterdam
in 1987, which is both long and flowery and full of admiration. You can also
download the first two minutes of the recording Pour finir avec le jugement
de Dieu and listen to Artauds voice.
The Rubriques section has various headings: News is currently a painting of
Artaud by Grgory Blin, but there is also access to previous news items; a good
bibliography and links to other sites. The Who is Artaud? and chronological
biography pages are still under construction.
http://www.slate.com/Art/96-10-15/Art/asp
Mad As Hell: Antonin Artauds pictures from a psychiatric institution posted
here in the Slate archives in October 1996 by Luc Sante. Slate is an online
satirical/political/cultural magazine (or ezine).
This very lucid and informative article accompanied an exhibition of Artauds
drawings (some reproduced on this site) titled Antonin Artaud: Works on
Paper at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, from October 1996 to January
1997. An extremely interesting site.
http://www.hydra.umn.edu/weber/art2.html
The Greatest Thing of All: The Virtual Reality of Theater by Samuel Weber
Professor Webers long discussion of Artauds work and its meaning today.
Samuel M Weber is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the
University of California, Los Angeles, and Director of the Paris Program in
Critical Theory. Well worth a look.
Also at this university, you can find a bibliography, a slideshow gallery,
extracts from Artauds works and links to other sites on the slightly different
address: http://www.hydra.umn.edu/artaud/ab.html
http://artslab.ucsd.edu/ARTSLAB/VA131ProjFall95/laura/artaudref.html
Antonin Artaud by Susan Sontag placed on the web, with liberal sprinklings
of Artaud references, in 1995 by a student named Laura. Art-slab (or Arts-lab)
is part of the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California, San
Diego.

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http://www.exeter.ac.uk/drama/shows/nomorefirmament.html
Exeter University Drama Departments production of There Is No More
Firmament by Artaud, performed by 2nd year Drama students in December
1999.
Director Stephen Hodge provides a programme note which explains a little of
the genesis of the work and there are also production stills and links to other
sites.
http://www.rice.edu/projects/thresher/issues/83/960329/AE/Story2.html
Artaud biography rages around Paris (rated with three-and-a-half stars) by
Moe Spencer. This is a review of Gerard Mordillats film My Life and Times
with Antonin Artaud (En Compagnie dAntonin Artaud). It comes from the
Arts and Entertainment section of The Rice Thresher (an online magazine
published by Rice University), issue of 29 March 1996. Moe liked it.
http://wfmu.org/LCD/GreatDJ/artaud.html
The site of WFMU, an independent radio station in New York. This page
contains an article taken from Alan Weisss Radio, Death and the Devil, in
The Wireless Imagination: Sound Radio and the Avant Garde, edited by D
Kahn and G Whitehead.
This is a brief description of Artauds final work, To Have Done With The
Judgement of God, and the understandable furore which surrounded it and
one does not need to be an apologist for, or fanatical follower of, Artaud to
understand why there was a furore.
The subject matter included obscenities, anti-Catholicisms (never a clever
thing to do in France), anti-Americanisms (which was particularly sensitive in
political circles, being such a short time after the liberation of France and the
end of the 193945 war) and God appearing as an organ on an autopsy table.
Its last-minute banning by the director of French Radio helped fuel the flames,
as did the vociferous support for the work among the artistic community and
the resignation, in protest against this censorship, of the director of dramatic
and literary broadcasts who had commissioned the piece in 1947.
Artaud died a few weeks later.
http://members.aol.com/mindwebart2/page169.htm
Part of the Art Minimal & Conceptual Only website which includes pages on
many artists, including Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, James Turrell, Bruce
Nauman, The Guerilla Girls and others.

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This page has excerpts from Artauds ideas on the plague in big red capital
letters against a repeated black and white photograph of him.
In the same site, re-type a different page http://members.aol.com/
mindwebart2/page10.htm and it will take you to Anas Nins version of
events in April 1933 when Artaud gave his famous talk on performance of The
Theatre and the Plague at the Sorbonne.
Still another page of this site http://members.aol.com/mindwebart2/
page101.htm will take you to Artauds Manifesto in a Clear Language.
http://130.179.92.25/Arneson_DE/Colin.html
A New Scene Seen Anew: Representation and Cruelty in Derridas Artaud by
Colin Russell.
A long essay which fundamentally says Derrida uses Artaud to support his
theories on deconstruction.
http://www.geocities.com/cosmicbaseball/artaud8.html#references
The Artaud page of a very strange site indeed. A sort of cross between
philosophy football shirts and a fantasy football league, but for Americans.
The Cosmic Baseball Association is a self-professed art exhibition-cumeducational resource with biographies, links and bibliographies for all its
players. Artaud was the pitcher for the Eden Bohemians in 1998; some of his
team-mates were George Orwell (outfield), Simone de Beauvoir (team owner),
William Makepeace Thackeray (coach), Cervantes (shortstop) and Franz Kafka
(thirdbase).
http://www.gherkin.com/palimpsest/artaud.htm
Another appreciation site with quotations of Artauds, pictures and links to
other related sites, e.g., on Derrida, Foucault, Dada, Surrealism, etc.
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~rmutt/HomePage.html
The home of Flightless Hummingbird: a pseudo periodical which aims to
contain various items on Art, Paranoia, Eschatology and Fashion Tips. You
wont find much sense here but then thats the whole point, of course.
If you prefer to go straight to the Artaud section of this labyrinthine site, type
the slightly different address http://www-personal.umich.edu/~rmutt/
dictionary/NoMoreWords.html which takes you to the No More Words
Surrealist website (which, strangely, is full of words). This is a collection of
quotations/statements on various topics Artauds is on Surrealism.

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http://www.taa-michel-poletti.ch/taaeng.htm
The home of Teatro Antonin Artaud, Ascona, Switzerland. Founded in 1969 by
Michel and (the late) Michle Poletti, dedicated to the search for a theatre of
images and fantasy through the use of puppets, shadows and masks. Its shows
are designed for both adults and children and have toured far and wide.
http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/~stavros/Artaud/artaud.html
A short biography and some of Artauds (untranslated) poems.
http://www.levity.com/corduroy/artaud.htm
A site dedicated to Artaud. A collection of links.
http://www.britannica.com/seo/t/theatre-of-cruelty/
The Encyclopaedia Britannicas entry for Theatre of Cruelty with links to
related entries in the encyclopaedia and to other Internet sites.
http://www.kickarts.org.au/archive/loca.html
KickArts Collective Incorporated, of Cairns, Queensland, Australia. This site
has been left behind after the November 1997 exhibition and performance of
Sharmilla Nezovics LOCO levels of consciousness. Nezovic chose a text by
Artaud to explore spatial relationships and human gesture.
http://www.anglistyka.uw.edu.pl/cruelty.htm
From the Internet Section, Institute of English Studies at the University of
Warsaw, Poland (in association with The British Council). This page contains
Aspects of the Theatre of Cruelty in Waiting for Godot. It includes a brief
outline of Artauds ideas and the very brief and unconvincing examination of
the title.
http://www2.gol.com/users/taqueya/
Taqueya Yamashita is a Japanese artist who declares he is inspired by Artaud
and this is his site. A selection of his work is available to view and will soon
include a specific Artaud section (currently under construction). The
following addition to the websites address will take you to a list of the
complete works of Artaud by title in French http://www2.gol.com/users/
taqueya/artaud/aa_oc_f.html
http://www.oceanstar.com/patti/bio/artaud.htm
A page from the site a patti smith babelogue. This site is devoted to the
singer Patti Smith and her many influences, Artaud being merely one.
http://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/bausch/revpho.html
A Stanford University site dedicated to the German choreographer Pina Bausch
whose influences are eclectic and include Artaud. The site contains reviews,

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photos, bibliography, information on her life and works, and links to other
sites.
http://www.cruelty.f2s.com
A death metal band which takes its name from Artauds theatre.
http://www.theaterartaud.org/
There is a theatre in San Francisco which takes its name from Artaud. This is
its homepage.
http://www.progsoc.uts.edu.au/~baitoven/disc/theatre.html
http://users.wantree.com.au/~nicol/pratstory.html
http://www.internauts.ca/~bishop/theatre.htm
http://www.themendeddrum.in2home.co.uk/toc.htm
http://wwwnl.lspace.org/books/misc/theatre-of-cruelty.html
http://wwwdigiserve.com/eescape/library/Theatre-of-Cruelty.html
Some of the many sites which publish Terry Pratchetts short story Theatre of
Cruelty.

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CRITICAL WORKS

SECTION 3

Ansell-Pearson, Keith (ed.), Nihilism Now!: monsters of energy, London:


Macmillan, 2000
A volume of essays celebrating Nietzsche and nihilism. Dales essay, Artaud
and the importance of being rude is a diverting read.
Banks, R A and Marson, P, Drama and Theatre Arts, London: Hodder &
Stoughton (rev.), 1998
A handy textbook, giving a survey of theatrical periods, and including a short
but useful introduction to Artaud, his ideas and practice.
Barber, Stephen, Antonin Artaud: Blows and Bombs, London: Faber & Faber,
1993
A biography which seems to be a little deliberately Artaudian itself. Well
researched and very much the work of an admirer.
Barber, Stephen, Artaud: The Screaming Body, London: Creation Books,
1999
A focus on the non-theatrical works films, drawings, and recordings. Barbers
opening chapter on film includes a vivid recounting of the genesis, execution
and reception of Dulacs film of Artauds scenario The Seashell and the
Clergyman. It goes on to give a vital discussion of Artauds ideas and
experience of cinema and the film industry.
Similarly, Barbers third chapter on recordings contains a wealth of material
on To Have Done With The Judgement of God and places it very firmly in its
historical and social context. A fine resource for a fuller picture of Artaud.
Barthes, Roland, Image-music-text, London: Methuen, 1982
Barthes, Roland, Mythologies, London: Vintage, 1993
A reprint of the 1972 English-language publication by Jonathan Cape of the
1957 French original. Barthes understanding of myth is complex and not,
perhaps, one we would associate with either Artauds or our own commonly
defined understanding. It is not, however, very far removed.
Along with the books cited in this bibliography by Jacques Derrida (and more,
by Foucault, Levi-Strauss, Baudrillard, etc., could have been cited), these
philosophical works centre on the debates concerning representations of
reality and language as a system of signs. Many of the French philosophers
make reference to Artaud because of his own concerns in this area.

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Myth, for Barthes, is many things: a language itself; a pseudo-scientific


justification of racism, Nazism, consumerism, etc. Myth is not of the
anthropological but of the political type which, historically, has asserted and
attempted to legitimise (and for a very long time successfully legitimised)
outrageous fantasies so much so, they become common sense assumptions
such as Bengal men are effeminate and therefore it is justifiable to subjugate
and rule them because they are too weak to rule themselves; or womens
brains are smaller and therefore they are less intelligent and should not be
allowed to go to universities; or black men have an innate propensity to
bend their knees and therefore make natural slaves.
Structuralists frowned upon misreadings, such as Artauds of the Balinese
dancers. The sign system that Artaud thought he was reading was not placed
into any contextual whole, and therefore he could not understand it
correctly. Meaning is fixed and stable. Post-structuralists considered these
readings of readings flawed and almost fascistic, and that meaning was
shifting and unstable. Post-modernists re-introduced the idea that the
fragments that make up the whole should be examined they have meaning
in their own right. So, Artauds misunderstanding is no such thing, but is,
rather fashionable again.
These texts may be somewhat difficult and possibly considered only tenuously
linked to a study of Artauds practice, but they are relevant to the theoretical
framework within which he tried to work and his ideas have significantly
influenced the post-war intellectual development of France and, therefore,
contemporary social and philosophical thought. By no means a necessary
addition to students workload but a direction in which some may want to go
if interested.
Bentley, Eric (ed.), The Theory of the Modern Stage: An Introduction to
Modern Theatre and Drama, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968
Contains Paul Goodmans Obsessed by Theatre which, like Innes (Holy
Theatre, see p 17), points out how Artaud misread the nature of the Balinese
dance drama.
Bermel, Albert, Artauds Theatre of Cruelty, New York: Taplinger Publishing,
1977
Bermel, Albert, Contradictory Characters: an interpretation of the modern
theatre, Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1996
A new edition. Turn to Part 3 and The Dreamer as Mankind The Fountain of
Blood, Antonin Artaud (another variant translation).

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Bilder, Erica (ed.), Theandric: Julian Becks Last Notebooks, Newark, NJ:
Harwood Academic Publishers, 1992
Julian Beck and Judith Malina ran the Living Theatre, a veritable hothouse of
experimental theatre. See the section On Artaud.
Birnbaum, Henrik and Eekman, Thomas (eds), Fiction and Drama in Eastern
and Southeastern Europe: Evolution and Experiment in the Postwar Period,
Bloomington, IN: Slavica Publishers, Indiana University, 1980
The essay Echoes of the Theater of the Absurd and the Theater of Cruelty in
Contemporary Lithuania by Tomas Venclova may be of minor interest.
Bradby, David, Modern French Drama 19401980, Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1984
A chronological survey of the period, primarily focused on playwrights but
also providing a good, detailed look at movements, directors, actors and
theatre companies.
This book is best used to examine how Artauds life and work influenced
others. As Bradby points out in his Introduction, Artaud was no longer an
active theatre practitioner in the period covered by this book.
Bradby goes on to show Artauds influence on Blin and Adamov and The New
Theatre which eventually led to Ionesco, Beckett and Genet (these latter
playwrights, Bradby states, owe less to Artaud than some have assumed or
asserted).
He also discusses Planchons interest in both Artaud and Brecht; Barraults
experiments with the actors body; the lack of Artauds concept of cruelty in
the plays of Vauthier, Audiberti and Arrabal, and Artauds overall influence on
the whole era.
Brandt, George W (ed.), Modern Theories of Drama: A Selection of Writings
on Drama and Theatre 18401990, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998
This valuable resource contains Artauds The Theatre of Cruelty: First
Manifesto and An End to Masterpieces. It also includes Alfred Jarrys On the
Futility of the Theatrical in the Theatre, and Guillaume Apollinaires
Preface and Prologue to The Breasts of Tiresias.
Braun, Edward, The Director and the Stage, London: Methuen, 1982
An invaluable resource for the whole course and particularly this unit,
regardless of which practitioner you have chosen. A broad, outstanding
overview of the rise to prominence of the director since the late nineteenth
century.

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As the nearest thing you will find to a course reader, it will introduce students
to the work of Meiningen, Antoine, the Symbolists, Jarry, Stanislavski, Craig,
Reinhardt, Meyerhold, Piscator, Brecht, Artaud and Grotowski.
Breton, Andr, Surrealism and Painting, trans. Simon Watson Taylor,
London: Macdonald, 1972
Breton, Andr, Manifestos of Surrealism, trans. Richard Seaver and Helen R
Lane, Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1974
Breton, Andr, What is Surrealism? Selected Writings, edited by F Rosemont,
London: Pluto, 1978
Brook, Peter, The Empty Space, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972
A seminal text for modern theatre workers. Brook was instrumental in the
1960s re-assessment of Artaud and this early text gives some pointers to
Brooks feelings about him at this time.
Brustein, Robert, The Theatre of Revolt: An Approach to the Modern Drama,
London: Methuen, 1965
A very entertaining read, linking Artaud with Genet, but which some later
critics find less than convincing.
Chambers, Ross, Aspects of Drama and Theatre, Sydney: Sydney University
Press, 1965
See Antonin Artaud and the contemporary French Theatre, pp.11342.
Cooper, S and Mackey, S, Theatre Studies: An Approach for Advanced Level,
Cheltenham: Stanley Thornes, 1996
A very useful textbook indeed, examining theatrical meaning, the process of
presentation, historical context, textual analysis and contemporary
productions.
Part 4.3 is of special interest to students of Artaud, as it contains a chronology
of his life, a biography, an extremely useful survey of Artauds theory and
practice, broken into headings (and with ideas for practical, workshop
exercises): The Theatre and its Double; Metaphysics; The Plague; Cruelty; The
Double; The Theatre of Cruelty (which includes staging, lighting, sound,
film); Scenarios; Language; Ritual; Influences (Surrealism, Jarry); Followers
(Brook, Genet, Americans, Grotowski, Shaffer, Berkoff).
This is an excellent introduction to a very tricky subject and well worth
buying.

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Craig, S (ed.), Dreams and Deconstructions: alternative theatre in Britain,


Ambergate: Amber Lane Press, 1980
A thoroughly entertaining and well illustrated book on the frantic theatrical
activity of 1970s Britain from the influences of Artaud to those of Brecht, on
political theatre to the fringe, community theatre, theatre-in-education,
writers and performance art.
Delgado, M M and Heritage, P (eds), In Contact with the Gods?: Directors talk
Theatre, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996
A very interesting look at many contemporary directors and their influences,
theories and practice.
Derrida, Jacques, Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass, Chicago, IL:
University of Chicago Press, 1978
See The Theatre of Cruelty and the Closure of Representation, pp.23250.
Derrida, Jacques and Thvenin, Paule, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud,
trans. Mary Ann Caws, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2000
An examination of his work by French deconstructionists/poststructuralists.
Not at all easy.
Derridas interest in Artaud is, though, fairly straightforward to understand
(its just his manner of saying so which is hellishly confusing). For those
interested in trying to grasp the work of Derrida, a good introduction would
be Derrida by Christopher Johnson (London: Phoenix, 1997). Artauds
concern with a system of communication, or notation, subjugating the written
word to a new sign system, is at the heart of the debates in Derridas field.
De Zoete, Beryl and Spies, Walter, Dance and Drama in Bali, Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1938
An anthropological study.
Docherty, Brian (ed.), Twentieth-Century European Drama, London:
Macmillan, 1993
A series of essays which cover Pirandello, Brecht, Beckett, Artaud, Fo, Rame,
etc. Look for two essays: Knapps on the Theatre of Cruelty, and Holdernesss
on the Weiss/Brook Marat/Sade.
Esslin, M, Theatre of the Absurd, London: Penguin, 1988
Endlessly re-issued (one is due from Methuen in 2001), Esslins book contains
what is essentially the entire history of the theatrical avant-garde which he has
cleverly re-titled Theatre of the Absurd. Still, he has made a lot of money out
of it and it is a good history.

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Esslin, M, Antonin Artaud: The Man and His Work, London: Calder
Publications, 1976
Esslins biography of Artaud is very readable and at times quite entertaining. It
is also very comprehensive in its depiction of events and fairly useful in its
outline of Artauds theory and practice. Worth a few hours of any students
time.
Fletcher, John (ed.), Forces in modern French drama, London: London
University Press, 1972
Gascoyne, David, A Short Survey of Surrealism, London: Enitharmon, 2000
A reprint of the 1935 edition.
Goodall, Jane, Artaud and the Gnostic Drama, Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1994
Gordon, Mel (ed.), Dada Performance, Baltimore: Performing Arts Journal
Books, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987
Greene, Naomi, Antonin Artaud: Poet Without Words, New York: Simon &
Schuster, 1970
Grotowski, Jerzy, Towards a Poor Theatre, London: Methuen, 1968
Grotowskis work in the 1960s was ground-breaking and owed a great debt to
the ideas of Artaud. For instance, Grotowskis work on the resonators in the
body in the training of an actors vocal work is influenced by Artauds An
affective athleticism (see The Theatre and Its Double).
One of Grotowskis essays in the book, He Wasnt Entirely Himself, is a
tender and acute observation of Artaud, more particularly, of Artauds general
philosophy on the salvation of man through theatre even though
Grotowski recognises a central paradox: that is, Artauds vision of theatre is
completely unrealisable.
Guicharnaud, Jacques and June, Modern French theatre from Giraudoux to
Genet, New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, (rev.) 1967
Harrison, Charles and Wood, Paul (eds), Art in Theory 19001990: An
Anthology of Changing Ideas, Oxford: Blackwell, 1992
A real door-stopper of a volume which contains a comprehensive collection of
selected writings on art and art theory. For dipping into, of course, but it can
also provide a valuable history of the ideas which shaped artistic practice
during the twentieth century.

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Hayman, R, Artaud and After, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977


Contains a readable account of the topic and includes a chronology and
illustrations.
Henderson, John, The first avant-garde, London: Harrap, 1971
Hunt, Albert and Reeves, Geoffrey, Peter Brook (Directors in Perspective),
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995
A chronicle of Brooks career. Look at The Embracing of Artaud: the Theatre
of Cruelty for a study of Brooks experiments in this field.
Huxley, Michael and Witts, Noel (eds), The Twentieth-Century Performance
Reader, London: Routledge, 1996
Turn to Chapter Three and the section on Artauds Theatre of Cruelty. A good
book, generally.
Innes, C, Holy Theatre: Ritual and the Avant Garde, Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1981
By no means an easy book due to the theoretical background being such an
important aspect of work in the avant garde (and the attempt to rationalise it),
but having said that, this is a first-rate, difficult book which will challenge
students and offer a comprehensive view of its subject matter.
Ritual is an absolutely crucial aspect of Artauds whole philosophy. Add to this
the other concerns of Innes argument myth, dreams and the irrational
subconscious and it is clear Artaud is not such a loose cannon in the
theatrical avant garde after all.
The whole of Chapter Three is devoted to Antonin Artaud and the Theatre of
Cruelty, examining theory, practice, form, theme, film, the context within
which Artaud worked and the movements and people whose influences
shaped his own experiments. Oscar Kokoschka is suggested as a strong
influence on Artaud, and Innes shows how some design elements of Artauds
production of The Cenci can be traced to Kokoschkas sketches.
The Cenci itself is given very useful scrutiny in this chapter, as Innes draws on
Artauds prompt copy to illustrate what occurred during the brief run of the
show.
Innes is generous in his appraisal of Artauds aims and successes; he is also
very good at pointing up the weaknesses and failures of Artauds theory and
practice his misunderstanding of the Balinese dancers, for instance, or his
inability to create the political impact he had intended.

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Chapter One, The politics of primitivism, gives a clear and interesting


account of the Balinese dance drama and also Artauds understanding of it
(not correct, in Innes view) and use of it in his future theory and practice.
Artauds influence on Jean-Louis Barraults total theatre and Peter Brooks
(with Charles Marowitz) early experiments at LAMDA in 1964, are also
thoroughly examined, as is the work of Jean Genet, Jerzy Grotowski and
others with interesting illustrations and pictures throughout.
Innes, C, Avant Garde Theatre, London: Routledge, 1993
A comprehensive look at Artaud and others, of course. Innes is a leading
writer on the subject who is always worth reading.
Knapp, Bettina L, Antonin Artaud: Man of Vision, Chicago and London:
Swallow Press, 1980
A re-issue (from 1969) of a well read favourite (with a Preface by Anas Nin).
Knapp, Bettina L, French Theatre 19181939, London: Macmillan, 1985
One of the less satisfactory volumes of a very good series of texts, though
ultimately worth reading. Knapp seems to be trapped by a desire to break
down the period into sections on people Tzara, Breton, Cocteau, Claudel,
etc., and then attempts to climb out of the trap by organising these people
into movements, styles or genres Dada, Surrealism, Satire, Mythic, etc.
The trouble is there was so much crossover by these artists and no little
confusion caused by the nature of their subject matter: it almost cocks a snook
at organisation and inherently defies a critics attempts to offer a
chronological, definitive explanation of what happened in French theatre
between the wars.
Dada is not Surrealism; the Theatre of Cruelty is neither of these; Artaud
worked with Vitrac (a Surrealist) but feared the Surrealists and Breton kicked
him out anyway (probably because he feared Artaud). And yet they all appear
in Section 1. On the other hand, Paul Claudels Partage de Midi (Break of
Noon), which is given a long analysis and might well be considered an obvious
candidate for Artaudian interpretation, appears in Section 3.
However, this simplification could work fairly advantageously for the student
wanting to look at Artaud in isolation, as Knapps Chapter 4 (pp.6383) does.
Here, the elements of Cruelty are broken down and seem rather easy to
follow which is also a danger sign. There is nothing easy to follow about
Artaud.

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Nevertheless, it seems clear that the Theatre of Cruelty was influenced by


two Colonial Exhibitions at which Artaud observed the dancers of Cambodia
(Marseilles, 1922) and, most significantly, Bali (Paris 1931). Furthermore,
Knapp explains, its constituent parts are:
Ritual almost a sacred, religious ceremony;
A language of abstractions through the use of gesture, props, chanting,
masks, lights, sound effects, etc;
Very little reliance on the spoken word;
A spectacle to arouse the senses and the unconscious rather than conscious
reason;
Use of myth, or what remains of myths as we know them in the industrialised
Western bourgeois democracies;
A cleansing and purifying of the audience through the metaphysical
experience of this theatre in preparation for a kind of rebirth.
Knapps explanation of Artauds definition of cruelty is also as simplified as it
can be: all life, all actions are cruel because they are the consequence of being
ejected from the state of unity inherent in the unconscious. To be conscious,
to live, is cruel. Artauds objective was to find that original state of
unconscious unity through the action of this theatre; to climb back inside
oneself, if you like, on an inner spiritual journey. This philosophical core has
clear parallels with various religious creation myths.
Knapp then goes on to possibly the best part of this chapter: the elements of
the Theatre of Cruelty (pp.715). This is a highly recommended section and is
followed by exemplification of the theory through two of Artauds works: The
Jet of Blood (1925) which is often translated as The Spurt of Blood and The
Cenci (1935) (pp.7680). Again, this makes valuable reading. All in all, a useful
introduction to Artaud, despite the structural deficiencies of the book as a
whole.
Knowles, Dorothy, French Drama of the inter-war years 191839, London:
Harrap, 1967
Kuenzli, Rudolf (ed.), Dada and Surrealist Film, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,
1996
A collection of essays which cover many of the classic films (Un Chien
Andalou, LAge dOr) and an essay by Sandy Flitterman-Lewis, The Image
and the Spark Dulac and Artaud reviewed, which is concerned with the
silent short written by Artaud in scenario form, The Seashell and the
Clergyman.
Labelle, Maurice Marc, Alfred Jarry: Nihilism and the Theatre of the Absurd,
New York and London: New York University Press, 1980

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Levitt, Annette S, The Genres and Genders of Surrealism, New York: St


Martins Press, 1999
See the section on Artaud and Vitrac. There is also discussion of Jean
Cocteaus films and Andr Bretons Nadja.
Levy, Silvano (ed.), Surrealism: surrealist visuality, Edinburgh: Keele
University Press, 1996
Another extensive study. Its Artaud section concentrates on the silent screen.
McCann, John, The Theater of Arthur Adamov, Chapel Hill, NC: University of
North Carolina Press, 1975
Adamov was close to Artaud and this study will reveal Adamovs practice and
the extent of Artauds influence on it.
Marowitz, Charles, Artaud at Rodez, London: Marion Boyars, 1977
Fundamentally the text of Marowitzs play, this book is also of great interest
for its other offerings. Marowitzs brief but pithy comments on Artaud in the
Introduction are important opinions for any practitioner to take on board.
The play itself is entertaining, a quick read and has an amusing knowingness
about its subject (see the Reporters questioning Artaud about the Thtre
Alfred Jarry playing only four programmes, p.27). It also has a stark, blamelaying, questioning, non-verbal conclusion which might well be worth some
exploration in a workshop environment.
The Appendices are even more interesting. The first section constitutes three
conversations Marowitz had in 1966 with Dr Gaston Ferdire (Artauds
psychiatrist at Rodez), Roger Blin and Arthur Adamov. In the second section
there are two articles from 1959: one by Artauds sister and the other by
Ferdire.
Ferdire features so prominently, of course, because the play uses the conflict
between Artaud and Ferdire as the central pivot which also symbolises the
conflict between poetry and science, artistic invention and bourgeois
conservatism, the irrational and the rational.
However, Marowitz, by including Ferdires own arguments, offers us the
possibility to empathise with the doctors dilemma. It is difficult today, and in
particular in Britain, to gauge the impact Artaud had on the French cultural
scene before, during and after the 193945 war. Perhaps the fact that much of
this brouhaha took place during the war distances us even further from the
phenomenon that was and is Artaud.
There is more than a hint of sadness to be gleaned by reading the article by
Artauds sister, Marie-Ange MalaussZna, beside Ferdires. The squalid

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accusations and counter-accusations belittle Artauds life and work; the


friends of Artaud who seem to have looted (MalaussZnas description) his
possessions on his deathbed further complicate opinions and events
surrounding Artauds lonely and painful end.
The conversations with Blin and Adamov provide background and insight into
Artauds life, personality, charisma and work and, perhaps, a reasoned
explanation for the so-called looting.
That Artaud was of unstable mind seems fairly certain. Laughing in the face of
mental illness is, of course, not a practice one would want to recommend,
however tempting, in Artauds case, it may be. Adamov allows us the chance to
see the funny side of life with the poet, theorist and sometime practitioner.
His descriptions of performances or programmes of entertainment at the
Thtre Alfred Jarry are gems.
Both Artauds direction of Paul Claudels Partage de Midi and Artauds own
performance of Strindbergs The Dream Play are described by Adamov in
hilarious, yet reverent, terms and offer the student a great deal of insight into
Artauds theatrical world.
Adamov is also in agreement with Roger Blin who later went on to
everlasting theatrical fame as the first director of Becketts En Attendant Godot
(Waiting for Godot). Both men believe Artauds legacy is huge, almost
impossible to define and cannot be imitated. Now theres a challenge
Matthews, J H, Theatre in Dada and Surrealism, Syracuse, New York:
Syracuse University Press, 1974
Gives an account of Artauds relationship with these two movements.
Melzer, Annabelle, Dada and Surrealist Performance, Baltimore, MD:
Performing Arts Journal Books, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994
Milling, Jane and Ley, Graham, Modern Theories of Performance: from
Stanislavski to Boal, New York: St Martins Press, 2000
This explores the theoretical work rather than the practice of many
practitioners: Stanislavski, Appia, Craig, Meyerhold, Copeau, Artaud,
Grotowski and Boal.
Mitter, S, Systems of Rehearsal: Stanislavski, Brecht, Grotowski and Brook,
London: Routledge, 1992
Chapter 2, To Be and Not To Be: Bertolt Brecht and Peter Brook, is useful
mostly for the influence which Brecht has had on Peter Brook and the
reaction against Brecht which Peter Brook has gone through. This might

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usefully be read in conjunction with Brooks earlier work on Weisss Marat/


Sade, a radical political piece given an Artaudian production in the 1960s.
Motherwell, Robert (ed.), The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology,
Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press (2nd edn), 1989
Nadeau, Maurice, The History of Surrealism, trans. Richard Howard,
Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978
Nin, Anas, The Journals of Anas Nin, London: Peter Owen, 19661974
A series of five volumes, these journals contain much of interest. Nin and
Artaud embarked on a friendship in 1933 Artauds interest was somewhat
different to Nins, who wrote that she loved his madness but could not
imagine actually touching him and it is her account of Artauds lecture on
the Plague at the Sorbonne in 1933 to which much critical attention has been
directed.
Pavis, Patrice, Languages of the Stage: essays in the semiology of the
theatre, Baltimore, MD: Performing Arts Journal Books, The Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1993
Semiotic analysis may be a fairly recent phenomenon, but Pavis traces and
explores the issues surrounding body language, signs and audience reception
as far back as the Greeks through Artaud and beyond.
Peter, John, Vladimirs Carrot: Modern Drama & The Modern Imagination,
London: Methuen, 1987
An interesting book which posits the distinction between what Peter terms
open and closed art/texts. Open forms share their world with their
audience (e.g. Macbeth and Ghosts), while closed forms have an element of
exclusion.
Artauds theatre (along with that of Brecht, Meyerhold and many others) is a
theatre of manipulation and those who practice these kinds of theatre are
little more than despots and dictators.
In the chapter Close of Play: Stages and Directions, Peter defines what he
understands to be Artauds theory and the intent of his practice mostly in
accurate, if ultimately disapproving, terms. He points out the clear influence
of Nietzsche on Artauds thinking and likens Artauds proposals for theatre to
nothing less than a Nazi rally.
A useful text to give an opposing, highly adverse appreciation of Artauds
work.

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Plunka, Gene, A (ed.), Antonin Artaud and the Modern Theatre, Madison, NJ:
Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1994
A collection of essays. The first half of the book attempts to clarify Artauds
theories and the second half examines the influence Artaud has had on
others.
Poggioli, Renato, The Theory of the Avant-Garde, Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1968
A top-notch, if very advanced, study which places the avant-garde as starting in
the revolutionary political fervour of nineteenth-century France before
moving into the realms of artistic endeavour.
Read, Herbert (ed.), Surrealism, London: Faber & Faber, 1971
Richards, Thomas, At Work With Grotowski On Physical Actions, London:
Routledge, 1995
An account by Grotowski collaborator, Richards, which may provide some
ideas as to how to translate theory into action.
Roose-Evans, James, Experimental Theatre: From Stanislavski to Peter
Brook, London: Routledge, 1996
An entertaining account of the avant garde with good accounts of
contemporary theatre companies and practitioners who have professed an
admiration for, and debt to, Artaud.
Rowell, Margit (ed.), Antonin Artaud: Works on Paper, New York: Museum of
Modern Art, 1997
Written to accompany the exhibition of the same name.
Schechner, Richard, Performance Theory, London: Routledge, (rev.) 1988
An update of the earlier collection of essays on the topic.
Schechner, Richard and Appel, Willa (eds), By Means of Performance:
intercultural studies of theatre and ritual, Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1990
Schechner, Richard, The Future of Ritual: writings on culture and
performance, London: Routledge, 1993
Schechner, Richard, Environmental Theatre, New York and London:
Applause, (rev.) 1994
Schumacher, Claude, Alfred Jarry and Guillaume Apollinaire, London:
Macmillan, 1984

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A very informative and readable guide to their work. Apollinaire coined the
term surreal before Breton hijacked it. A good resource for background to
the theatrical avant-garde.
Schumacher, Claude (ed.), Artaud on Theatre, London: Methuen, 1989
A good title and worth reading.
Sellin, Eric, The Dramatic Concepts of Antonin Artaud, Chicago, IL:
University of Chicago Press, 1968
Shattuck, Roger, The Banquet Years: the origins of the avant-garde in
France, 18851980, London: Cape, (rev.) 1969
Focuses on the roles played by Jarry, Rousseau, Satie and Apollinaire.
Shattuck, Roger, The Innocent Eye: On Modern Literature and the Arts, New
York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1984
A survey of French arts from 1830 to 1980.
Sidnel, M J, Sources of Dramatic Theory: Volume 2: Voltaire to Hugo,
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994
Volume Two of what will be a super four-volume series. This is very advanced
and therefore to be read in libraries and only to be dipped into. Of particular
interest in this volume is the section on the effects of performance on
audience behaviour.
Stoppelman, Gabriela, Artaud for Beginners, London: Writers & Readers
Publishing Inc., 1999
Another in the cartoon-cum-critical appreciation series.
Styan, J L, Modern Drama in Theory and Practice: Volume 2. Symbolism,
Surrealism and the Absurd, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983
Second of a three-part survey of modern theatre which is as lucid and
engaging as the other two volumes. Highly recommended. (The other titles
are Vol 1: Realism and Naturalism and Vol 3: Expressionism and Epic Theatre.)
Tzara, Tristan, Seven Dada Manifestos and lampisteries, trans. Barbara
Wright, New York: Riverrun Press, 1983
A more recent edition of the texts (previously published by Calder & Boyars in
1977).
Weightman, John, The Concept of the Avant-Garde, London: Alcove, 1973
A very good guide to what underlined the work of these artists. Well worth a
look.

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SECTION 4

Periodicals
The Tulane Drama Review is just one of many. Here are some issues which have
included material on Artaud:
Vol. 8, No. 2:
Vol. 9, No. 3:
Vol. 10, No. 4:
Vol. 11, No. 1:
Vol. 11, No. 2:
Vol. 16, No. 2:

The Artaud edition; Paul Arnold and The Artaud Experiment;


contains a translation of To Have Done With The Judgement of God;
includes the Marat/Sade Forum;
contains information on films and scenarios;
Charles Marowitz and the Theatre of Cruelty;
contains work on The Cenci, including diagrams from the prompt
book and reviews.

Recordings
Bauhaus: Antonin Artaud a song from the post-Punk band, Bauhaus, on their
album, Burning from the Inside.
Edgar Varese: Arcana (1927) or Ionisation (1931) by Edgar Varese (18831965),
a one-time collaborator of Artauds (it came to nothing). These recordings might
give some idea of the nature of their proposed work together and of what music
in the Theatre of Cruelty might have sounded like.

Films
There are certain anthropological films in existence which, though virtually
impossible to find, may be worth keeping an eye out for. One such is Margaret
Meades Trance and Dance in Bali from 1937; another is a film which concerns
Artauds voyage to observe the Peyote dance of the Tarahumara Indians, Mexico,
in 1936. This film is reputed to have been shown by Professor Gerd Roscher of
Hamburg, at the Freiburg Film Festival on Ethnographic Film, in May 1997.
One television programme which might be worth looking out for if it is repeated
is Michel Foucaults Beyond Good and Evil, first shown by the BBC in 1993.
Though focusing on Foucaults philosophy, there is more than a significant
influence of Artaud on his thinking so much so that in a short excerpt the
television makers have staged a fictional reconstruction of part of Artauds
performance at the Vieux Colombier in 1947.

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Feature films and shorts which might be of interest are:


The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1919), directed by Robert Wiene. Not an Artaud film
but one of the Expressionist masterpieces. Watch and examine the acting style
and use of odd angles and exaggeration in set design.
Napoleon (1927), directed by Abel Gance, in which Artaud plays the French
revolutionary, Jean-Paul Marat. Considered to be a classic of the silent screen.
The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928), directed by Germaine Dulac. Artaud
wrote this Surrealist black and white silent short it runs to thirty minutes in
scenario form. It was promptly banned in Britain. Though it might have been
censored for its sexual content, the censor was exceedingly honest and declared
it was, to him, completely meaningless and impossible to understand on any
level and banned it for assuming it was objectionable (See Barber, Screaming
Body, above).
Artauds discontent with the production process and Dulacs interpretation was
later modified, largely due to the kudos to be gained by it being hailed, at least
by Artaud, as a precursor of Buuel and Cocteau.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), directed by Carl Dreyer, in which Artaud
played a monk. Another black and white silent screen classic.
Un Chien Andalou (1928), directed by Luis Buuel (Connoisseur Video, CR129,
1994). The still disturbing, classic Surrealist short film.
The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper) (1931), directed by G W Pabst.
Artaud acted in this but, like Brecht himself, disowned it. The French version of
the film was released as LOpra de Quatsous.
The Marat/Sade (1966), directed by Peter Brook. A film version of the
extraordinary play by the German playwright, director and painter Peter Weiss, in
which Peter Brook brought to celluloid his experiments with the Theatre of
Cruelty.
My Life and Times with Antonin Artaud (En Compagnie dAntonin Artaud)
(1993), directed by Grard Mordillat. A lovely film, well told and worth watching.
Satans Brew (1976), directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. A black comedy in
which the central character, a reincarnated nineteenth-century homosexual poet,
Stefan George, creates his own version of the Theatre of Cruelty in an attempt at
social commentary and a satire of fascism and the cult of the individual.

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Poetry
Artaud made something of a name for himself initially as a poet. He had many
influences (Poe and others). Perhaps a look at the following might give some
idea of this influence:
Apollinaire, Guillaume, Calligrammes: Poems of Peace and War, trans. Anne
Hyde Greet, Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 1980.
Arp, Jean, Collected French Writings, London: Calder, 1985
A collection of Arps poetry, along with other work.

Plays
There are numerous texts which might profitably be used as background to the
period, or as examples of the movements of Dada and Surrealism (or other
isms which formed the avant garde in the first half of the last century), or as
evidence of how more modern plays have been influenced directly or
indirectly by Artaud. The following is merely a selection.
Adamov, Arthur, Collected Plays, London: Calder, 2000
Arrabal, Fernando, Plays Volume 2, trans. Barbara Wright, London: John
Calder, 1976
This volume contains Guernica, The Labyrinth, The Tricycle, Picnic on the
Battlefield and The Condemned Mans Bicycle. There are four volumes in this
series.
Benedikt, Michael and Wellwarth, George E (eds and trans.), Modern French
Plays: An Anthology from Jarry to Ionesco, London: Faber & Faber, 1965
An interesting collection which includes Apollinaires The Breasts of Tiresias.
Breton, Andr, Nadja, trans. Lane Dunlop, London: Calder, 2000
Bchner, Georg, Complete Plays (ed. and trans. Michael Patterson), London:
Methuen, 1987
Bchners Woycek is credited as having led the way for the Expressionist and
Realist experiments in theatre in the early twentieth century. Visual distortion,
taboo subjects, etc. were some of the elements which fed into the burgeoning
avant garde.
Cocteau, Jean, Two Screenplays, London: Marion Boyars, 1993
The scripts of The Blood of the Poet and The Testament of Orpheus plus other
work.

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Genet, Jean, The Maids and Deathwatch, trans. Bernard Frechtman, New
York: Grove Press, 1988
One could just as easily choose The Balcony or The Blacks as examples of his
stagework.
Ionesco, Eugene, Plays Volume 1, trans. Donald Watson, London: Calder,
1958
This volume contains The Chairs, The Bald Prima Donna, The Lesson and
Jacques. Classic absurd drama. There are ten volumes in this series.
Jarry, Alfred, The Ubu Plays, trans. Cyril Connolly and Simon Watson Taylor,
London: Methuen, 1968.
Try to imagine the genteel classes, the evening dress, a night at the theatre,
seventy years before Monty Python, fifty years before Beckett, twenty years
before Apollinaire, Queen Victoria on the throne of Great Britain and a grotty,
grotesque, gluttonous, rancorous, vicious pig of a man strides out on stage
and hurls the word Shite! at the audience.
Alfred Jarrys Ubu Roi exploded into theatrical history with just two
performances. He went on to found the Science of Pataphysics a science
of imaginary solutions which was totally nonsensical and drink himself to
death by the age of 34. Artaud named his own theatre in Jarrys memory.
Kane, Sarah, Blasted and Phaedras Love, London: Methuen, 1996
Kane, Sarah, Cleansed, London: Methuen, 2000
(Methuen are planning to publish the Complete Plays in April 2001.)
Kane caused a sensation in the latter years of the last century with her
simultaneously grotesque and compassionate, comic and lurid plays about
abuse, war, cruelty and despair and these were her attempts to be lifeaffirming. They split critics and audiences alike. Suffering from deep
depression, she committed suicide at the age of 28 in 1999.
Weiss, Peter, Marat/Sade: The Persecution and Assassination of Marat as
Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of
the Marquis de Sade (English version by Geoffrey Skelton; verse adaptation
by Adrian Mitchell), London: Marion Boyars, 1965
A remarkable play, given a remarkable production by Peter Brook with the
Royal Shakespeare Company in 1964. A heavily Marxist inspired play given a
heavily Artaudian inspired interpretation, this was the culmination of Brooks
experiments with his understanding of the Theatre of Cruelty.
Variously received by critics (see Esslin, The Theatre of the Absurd, p. 433, or
Innes, Holy Theatre, p. 132) and commented upon by Peter Brook himself in
The Empty Space, p. 26.

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Courses
The Royal National Theatre Education and Training Department provides InService Training courses for teachers. Their 20002001 programme of courses
included two of particular relevance to this unit: Introducing Artaud and
Further Artaud.
Information can be obtained by writing (with an SAE) to: Education and Training,
Royal National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX.

Other
Reed, Jeremy, Chasing Black Rainbows: A Novel about Antonin Artaud,
Chester Springs, PA: Dufour Editions, 1994
In which Reed inhabits the person of Artaud in order to re-fashion Artauds
life.
Tessier, Marc and Lafleur, Alexandre, The Theatre of Cruelty, Seattle, WA:
Fantagraphics Books, 1998
Not about Artaud but a comic book of short stories drawn from Artaudian
influences and using Indian iconography/spirituality/transcendentalism as its
source and inspiration. May cause offence to some readers

DRAMA

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