Artaud’s Metamorphosis: From Hieroglyphs to Bodies without Organs

A great new book from Pavement Books:

by Jay Murphy

£18.99 (inc. postage)
ISBN: 978-0-9571470-9-6

Despite being one of the most influential artists and writers of the mid-20th Century, Antonin Artaud’s voice remains inadequately deciphered. Artaud’s Metamorphosis is the first book on the transformation from his ‘early’ to ‘late’ work, and it shows how the ‘final’ Artaud leads straight into our digital present. This Artaud will alter how you think of media, the virtual, the political, and thought itself.

‘Only after reading Jay Murphy’s beautifully crafted, thought-provoking, scholarly yet light fingered, account did I become aware of the crucial role the benighted Artaud plays in capitalism-and-schizophrenia. Murphy is a most wonderful guide to the madness that is our voyage through reality as a body without organs.’
Michael Taussig, Columbia University

‘Jay Murphy’s book excels as a forensic investigation of the continuing explosion that was Artaud. It collects the traces left by his devastating passage through poetry, art, politics, philosophy, film and theatre and shows how Artaud’s “war unto eternity” pushed him beyonds the limits of the hieroglyph towards the “body without organs”. Lucid without compromising the darkness of Artaud’s suffering, it is essential reading for anyone interested in the madness of the 20th and 21st centuries.’
Howard Caygill, Kingston University

‘There is in Artaud a high velocity veering composed of lucidity and imaginative derangement. To figure out what he is really about is an extraordinary challenge. The most important aspect of Murphy’s contribution is his awareness that Artaud’s bizarre images and propositions carry visionary components relative to virtuality and digitality and may also address new relations of time, space, body and awareness. Such work indicates sophistication in reading Artaud that is far from the American 1960s attitude toward him.’
Clayton Eshleman, Eastern Michigan University

Table of Contents

Introduction: Metabolism and Immortality

I. A PROJECT FOR UNDERSTANDING ARTAUD

The matter of theory: updating ‘cosmos=chaos’

Artaud’s difference: sense and signification

Artaud’s glossolalia: a user’s guide

The yoga of the scream

The ‘figural’ and the language of the body

The revelation of how the ‘hieroglyph’ works in Artaud’s film scenarios

The persistence of myth: Artaud the mystic without mysticism, the shaman without community

II. IN THE LAND OF THE TARAHUMARAS

Artaud on ancient Mayan hieroglyphs: the ‘Space where Life dies’

Explaining ‘occult geometry’: Artaud’s art criticism

The visit to the Tarahumaras

Interpreting the Tarahumara rites

‘Stopping the world’: Artaud’s double, triple worlds

Touching the outside

III. RITUAL ACTS

Maps of the ‘unconscious’

Putting ‘time back on track’

The body is the operator

The conflict of the faculties

The case of Artaud’s ‘Tutuguri’ (1948)

The space of Artaud’s apocalypse

IV. TRANSFORMING RITUAL ACTS

Casting spells

Artaud’s apocalypse as initiation, or ‘complete voyage’

The world of sorcery as ‘permanent liminality’

Artaud and Jesus Christ

The cross and the crossroads, redux

The ‘universal’ cross: enter Guénon

Artaud’s The New Revelations of Being (1937)

The cross as a test of rhythm

V. HIEROGLYPHICS AS PASSAGE

Artaud’s becoming versus being

The fulcrum of the Cross: Artaud’s ‘Gnostic’ delirium

Artaud begins his re-formation: the cross and the sexuality of the ‘true body’

The ‘search for fecality’ in the creation of the new body

The cross is the pivot in this creation of the ‘true body’

The full ‘body without organs’ emerges

Artaud’s  ‘cure’

VI. THE FRACTURING OF THE VOID
AND THE EXPLODING HIEROGYLPH

The spherical body

Artaud’s 1947-8 notebooks: the combustion of hieroglyphics

The opening to animism: the ‘body without organs’ as mythic autoreference

Artaud on Van Gogh: the totem and the implosion of the
hieroglyphic figure

Derrida’s Artaud: the vicissitudes of the ‘subjectile’

Artaud’s ‘graphic cruelties’: the face of the void

The voice at the end of the world: the final sound works

Conclusion: ERASING THE LINE

Artaud’s subversion of hieroglyphics

Artaud in the 21st century: the ‘present body’

 order here:

 http://www.pavementbooks.com/artaudsmetamorphosis

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