The translated transcripts of two radio broadcasts by Artaud: To have
done with the judgement of god (1947-48) and Madness and Black
Magic (1946). Correspondences from that period are also included.
In the last two years of his life, following his release from the Rodez
asylum, Antonin Artaud decided he wanted his new work to connect with a
vast public audience, and chose to record radio broadcasts in order to
carry through that aim. That determination led him to his most
experimental and incendiary project, To have done with the judgement
of god, 1947-48, in which he attempted to create a new language of
texts, screams, and cacophonies: a language designed to be heard by
millions, aimed, as Artaud said, for “road-menders”. In the broadcast, he
interrogated corporeality and introduced the idea of the “body without
organs”, crucial to the later work of Deleuze and Guattari. The broadcast,
commissioned by the French national radio station, was banned shortly
before its planned transmission, to Artaud's fury.
This volume collects all of the texts for To have done with the
judgement of god, together with several of the letters Artaud wrote
to friends and enemies in the short period between his work's censorship
and his death. Also included is the text of an earlier broadcast from
1946, Madness and Black Magic, written as a manifesto
prefiguring his subsequent broadcast. Clayton Eshleman's extraordinary
translations of the broadcasts activate these works in their extreme
French dramatist, poet, essayist, actor, and theater director Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) is one of the seminal figures of twentieth century writing, art and sound experimentation, known especially for his work with the Surrealist movement, his performance theories, his asylum incarcerations, and his artworks which have been exhibited in major exhibitions, at New York's MoMA and many other art-museums.