Maldoror and the Complete Works

Maldoror and the Complete Works Andre Breton described Maldoror as the expression of a revelation so complete it seems to exceed human potential Little is known about its pseudonymous author aside from his real name Isidore Ducasse

  • Title: Maldoror and the Complete Works
  • Author: Comte de Lautréamont Alexis Lykiard
  • ISBN: 9781878972125
  • Page: 227
  • Format: Paperback
  • Andre Breton described Maldoror as the expression of a revelation so complete it seems to exceed human potential Little is known about its pseudonymous author, aside from his real name Isidore Ducasse , birth in Uruguay 1846 and early death in Paris 1870 Lautreamont bewildered his contemporaries, but the Surrealists modeled their efforts after his black humor andAndre Breton described Maldoror as the expression of a revelation so complete it seems to exceed human potential Little is known about its pseudonymous author, aside from his real name Isidore Ducasse , birth in Uruguay 1846 and early death in Paris 1870 Lautreamont bewildered his contemporaries, but the Surrealists modeled their efforts after his black humor and poetic leaps of logic, exemplified by the oft quoted line, As beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella Maldoror s shocked first publisher refused to bind the sheets of the original edition and perhaps no better invitation exists to this book, which warns the reader, Only the few may relish this bitter fruit without danger This is the only complete annotated collection of Lautreamont s writings available in English, in Alexis Lykiard s superior translation For this latest edition, Lykiard updates his introduction to include recent scholarship.

    One thought on “Maldoror and the Complete Works”

    1. Probably one of the most experimental, strange and horrifically beautiful books on the planet. A dream-like monument to man's imagination. One part 'Frankenstein' and one part 'Faust'. Epic in scope. Poetic in form. Gothic in style. Completely surreal.

    2. Back in the day, when I was young and passionate, I decided I had to read this book, and so I ordered it from our local bookshp and waited 7 weeks until I finally was summoned to come and get it.That evening when the house was finally quiet,I built up a nice fire and poured myself a glass of wine. Cosy and prepared for an exquisite read,I was surprised to read first the authors note: reader, if you love this life, do not read this book. But I am brave, I thought, continuing.A few more pages,the [...]

    3. 1) Before reading Rimbaud I thought I would see fireworks; the problem was that I had read Lautréamont first. (Michel Houellebecq)2) After reading the last part of "Les Chants de Maldoror" I thought of giving up literature due to embarrassment of my own literary achievements. (André Gide [in a diary entry, in 1905])3) Lautréamont has been the biggest influence on my writing career. My books are toys for adults who have read Lautréamont. (César Aira)This book embraces both classical rules of [...]

    4. What to say about Maldoror that hasn't been said yet? What to say about the mysterious son of a diplomat who appeared in France, wrote this book and died, vanishing from the world, yet leaving his mark for decades and centuries yet to come?The first time I had the pleasure of reading this exceptional work, I was taken aback. Barely seventeen, I hungrily swallowed the disturbing images leaping at me from the pages, not to fully comprehend them until years later. This work, over a century old, is [...]

    5. Perhaps there's a reason why Lautréamont's celebrity never reached the heights achieved by his contemporary Athur Rimbaud. Les Chants are uneven and sometimes of suspect quality: this is especially seen in the second section of Canto II, where, after giving a typically Ducassian, abandon-all-hope warning diatribe, Ducasse devotes a few pages to the horrors of writer's block. These are the "poison-filled pages" I've been warned about? A horrific description of Lautréamont's stalled creative pro [...]

    6. The Count wrote this despicable (and I mean that as a compliment) poetic novel when he was 22 and it shows. It burns with the passion of someone who still believes in absolutes, believes he is cursed forever, has given up trying to reclaim what is already lost (innocence, faith), renounces the world and refuses to repent. In this sense it is both a nice reminder and a grim memory of that turbulent time in life.Many of the sections read like black metal lyrics, which is cool, but also means they [...]

    7. This volume is excellent for studying the small volume of works by Lautreamont/Ducasse (who I shall henceforth refer to as L/D; the shifting displacement of identity is central to these works).In a sense these works are at the heights of literature, dissolving in their very creation or unfolding. As well, they seem to have consumed their writer to the point of his non-existence. Having left no memoir (as he says in the Poésies), all that is left of him, all that remains, are these two short wor [...]

    8. There's a certain way to approach this book. If you try to read it like a normal book, like a regular piece of prose, you'll have to get out a notebook, and then reread the same paragraphs over and over again. It took me a long time to get through this work, because of the nature in which this was written. This book is extremely beautiful, and very well crafted. However, when you read it, you need to look at it like you would a piece of abstract art. See the whole picture first, then look closer [...]

    9. Lautreamont is an aesthete of the highest order - the most grotesque, sadistic or revolting images will as often as not serve to counter some prior helping of the innocent or exquisite. The result is always something incisive, revelatory, profound. Maldoror's devotion to evil and continuous violations of the good seem to answer an underlying amorality in the universe at large - his philosophy is one of impious disgust at the hypocrisy of a God (represented as a guilt-ridden incontinent syphiliti [...]

    10. I read this because Vollmann talks about it so much, and this book itself is filled with "beautiful sentences," as William T likes to talk about, plus it's published by Exact Change, AKA Damon & Naomi, formerly of Galaxie 500.

    11. i loved this book !! :))) this is easily my favorite book ive read so far in my new lil journey of reading. it is a series of incredibly imaginative, engaging, fascinating, mysterious, sometimes dark and violent, almost always surreal ramblings or little stories, many of which are haunted by the presence of maldoror, a being of evil who seems to take many different forms throughout the book. despite how macabre it is at times, lautreamont's style is often charming and full of personality. i ofte [...]

    12. Definite 4.75Which modern artists has not been grazed by the breadth of this beacon of pure & wild voltage. Lautreamont’s intelligence cuts to the bone of previous geniuses. He wears their epidermis like a morbid costume sniffing about the insides of their fatty & decaying residuals. He transposes the projection of earth’s rotation & builds his own orbit into the future. He purposely attempts difficult structures of syntax which can lead the reader astray or turn the casual reade [...]

    13. Comte de Lautréamont has to be the single most perplexing yet obviously talented author I've discovered since Louis-Ferdinand Céline. (why are these types almost always French?) Since he died at the age of 24, his complete works fit into less than 400 pages the bulk of which is taken up by a bizarre gothic novel titled "The Songs of Maldoror".The title character is an Antichrist-like figure who does not just oppose the Judeo-Christian god, depicted here as a cross between the less moral gods o [...]

    14. Man, where to start? First off, admittedly superficially, I hate the edition of the book: I hate its stupid awkward size, I hate the sleep-inducing font, I hate the snotty and obscure introductions, I hate the David Lynch ripoff cover.I'll read an entire page and totally forget what I just read completely. Nothing is holding my interest! Very rarely can I not simply ABSORB what I'm reading; here it just washed over me without sinking in. The only other time I can remember this happening is with [...]

    15. My favorite line from Maldoror is, ".h but weep at the same time. If you cannot weep with your eyes, weep with your mouth. If this is still impossible, urinate. But I warn you, some sort of liquid is needed here" which pretty much sums up the book's thesis. This book is (for lack of a better adjective) dark. It is also weird and funny. The laughter released is based in the gut, a coarse, foolish, belly laugh. It is distinct from the throaty chuckling made in response to some polite quip, or the [...]

    16. The ultimate! You think that Artaud had a bit of rage for the human race and its creator? You think that American Psycho effectively satirizes the pettiness and cruelty of society by means of exaggeration? This book goes well above and beyond all that. Seriously, you are not metal anything until you have made your way through these "sombre, poison-filled pages." I just cannot believe how good this book is EVERY time I read it. Get this edition too, the translator's ranting about the quality of p [...]

    17. The Chants are brilliant and the clarity is fascinating and humbling. The hard work and intensity makes this a genuine work of art, literature, Mathematics and Physics. The poèsies, letters and the few apocryphal writing are brilliant as well, though very different in style from the Chants. The lucidity of the "psychic explosion" going on here makes his work "as beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella!" =)

    18. I usually find it hard to believe this author really existed. His strange disappearance would only seem to confirm the possibility that he was some sort of weird literary X-man jumping between dimensions who stopped here briefly.The works can be ridiculously sadistic and cruel, but are never less than inspired (even if in that total madman way).

    19. Lautréamont's writing is painful, haunting, and liberating all at once. I recommend reading this collection along side Nietzsche and Hogg.

    20. Quotes from Intro:Contains its own built in criticism Mixes genres, deal in paradox and parody and make abrupt transitions whether thematic or stylistic, ensures a stimulating and multifaceted, rather than an easy or easily classifiable, read.Opposes the Deity and indeed all authority that cramps the spirit.Mixed genres of prose-poetry, poetic prose, the Gothic fantasy, the serial novel, horror and humor, authorial interventions, disruptions of space and time, stories-within-stories, plagiarisms [...]

    21. Let's face it, we all love our "enfant terribles". Well, few are more terrible than de Lautrémont, who is either the most insane youngster of the French literary world, or the ultimate prankster. I can't decide which, to be quite honest. But, either way, this was basically the birth of surrealism. Or, at least, surrealism as we know it today. For those who felt Rimbaud was too whiny, this is for you, pretty much. With this complete collection, we get all the delectable hideousness to experience [...]

    22. A beautiful book, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes maddening. Always fascinating. And such a good edition, with helpful introduction, good notes, etc. Without Ducasse (Lautreamont) would we have the surrealists? Would we have later punk literature, Kathy Acker, etc.? Even the beats owe a great deal to him. Oddly not belonging to any particular school or outlook, just a great writer, very young, on his own. A shame he died at 24.

    23. Irrational fever dreams of a broken & obsessed mind. The writing is, technically, quite incoherent. A hot & evil mess of a book. It's brilliant. Ravings of a singular mind, strapped to the massive grinding wheel of a sickening century. Fin de siècle before that was cool.

    24. Ducasse left a haunting name in Lautréamont. His work outlives the little we know about the genius behind it. Modernism would not have existed the way we know without “Maldoror.” Beckett’s novels would have lacked its poetic humanism. Misery would have defeated many artists.

    25. I'm not sure I can give this a number of stars. Would it be five for the total apocalyptic brilliance of the language or 0 for the deeply, astonishingly sick & twisted content? I'm not one to keep reading horrifying things; I don't watch horror movies and I avoid the worst of the news. But Maldoror is something special, a book about evil that is perversely about poetry. If it had been written now I might feel less inclined to love it, but with Rimbaud and Baudelaire for contemporaries it's a [...]

    26. Whether or not you consider the author to be serious in his defamation of God and his repugnance aimed both towards himself and the reader, he is certainly sincere in his seething hatred. Of course, he changed completely when he wrote Poesies, however that's not why you're buying this book. That's not what made this book infamous. It's Les Chants that's drawn you in. But it's really not at all what it's been cracked up to be: the writing style is far too lugubrious to be enjoyed (ironically, the [...]

    27. All the outrageous and decadent perversion of de Sade or Bataille filtered through a wittier, more poetic absurdist tongue. Maldoror is really fantastically well-written, with a mindbendingly clever turn of phrase turning up at least once per page, and has exactly the sort of snottily humorous tone you'd expect from 'the first surrealist novel'. I enjoyed it a lot, though it's possibly the sort of thing you have to be under 25 to not find insufferable.My rating only really applies to Maldoror. A [...]

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