Antonin Artaud

This page is dedicated to the wonderful and disturbed French Poet Antonin Artaud. It includes a biography, links to other Artaud sites, and a list of his primary works. I hope you enjoy it.

Artaud Links

Antonin Artaud (1895-1948), modern French poet, actor, and director, is known mostly for his innovative contributions to the theater. His most famous work, The Theater and Its Double, combines the uses of gestures, sounds, unusual scenery, and lighting in order to speak to his audience without too much dependence on language. Artaud's aim was to "shock the spectator into seeing the baseness of his world," and he achieved this goal by escaping the dominance of language and rationality of traditional bourgeoisie theater. His concept of the "theater of cruelty" was designed to free man from the human subconscious and reveal his true self. Artaud compares theater to the plague because it coerces "men to see themselves as they are, it causes the mask to fall, reveals the lie, the slackness, baseness, and hypocrisy of the world."
Artaud was born in Marseilles and was afflicted at a young age with a mental illness that haunted him throughout his life. During the 1920s to the early 1930s he was associated with various experimental theater groups, and from 1927-29 he was able to exercise his theories at the Theater Alfred Jarry, which he co-founded. Shortly after an excursion to Mexico in 1936, he was found insane and admitted to various asylums for the next nine years. Artaud died of cancer in 1948. Although his literary works were unsuccessful, his vision was a major influence on major modern playwrights such as Jean Genet, Eugene Ionesco, Samuel Beckett and others.

Antonin Artaud Works

Le Theatre et Son Double (1938)
Revolte Contre la Poesie (1944)
D'un Voyage au Pays de Tarahumaras (1945)
Xylophonic Contre la Grande Presse et Son Petit Public (1946)
Pour en Finir avec le Judgement de Dieu
Le Theatre de Seraphin
Le Pese-Nerfs
Les Cenci
Le Moine

Artaud, Antonin: Antonin Artaud: Selected Writings
University of California Press, Berkeley, California 1988

Stade, George: European Writers, the 20th Century vol. X
Publisher: Charles Chivnersons, NY 1990