Les Chants De Maldoror/Poesies/Lettres

by Lautréamont

Paperback, 1994

Status

Available

Call number

841.8

Genres

Publication

Editions Flammarion (1994)

Description

The macabre but beautiful work,Les Chants de Maldoror, has achieved a considerable reputation as one of the earliest and most extraordinary examples of Surrealist writing. It is a long narrative prose poem which celebrates the principle of Evil in an elaborate style and with a passion akin to religious fanaticism. The French poet-critic Georges Hugnet has written of Lautréamont: "He terrifies, stupefies, strikes dumb. He could look squarely at that which others had merely given a passing glance." Little is known of the author ofMaldoror, Isidore Ducasse, self-styled Comte de Lautréamont, except that he was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1846 and died in Paris at the age of twenty-four. When first published in 1868-9,Maldoror went almost unnoticed. But in the nineties the book was rediscovered and hailed as a work of genius by such eminent writers as Huysmans, Léon Bloy, Maeterlinck, and Rémy de Gourmont. Later still, Lautréamont was to be canonized as one of their principal "ancestors" by the Paris Surrealists. This edition, translated by Guy Wernham, includes also a long introduction to a never-written, or now lost, volume of poetry. Thus, except for a few letters, it gives all the surviving literary work of Lautréamont.… (more)

Media reviews

Maldoror. Samlade verk i Elias Wraaks översättning utkom första gången 2002 men sålde snabbt slut. Nu har förlaget gett ut den på nytt och dessutom tillfogat andra smärre verk av Lautréamont, samt återger några av hans brev och några samtida vittnesbörder om hans person, för att nu inte tala om en förträfflig kommentardel i slutet av utgåvan. Akribin är imponerande.
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Jag recenserade förlaget Alastors utgåva av Lautréamonts "Samlade verk" 2002 och var salig av förtjusning inför Elias Wraaks översättning. Den svarta juvelen i kronan är "Maldorors sånger" - 60 lyriska, prosapoetiska sånger om mänsklig ondska som först förbjöds, därefter publicerades 1874, fyra år efter författarens död.
Med "Maldorors sånger" kom Isidore Ducasse en bra bit längre på den väg som de Sade mutat in: att skriva en litteratur som i sig själv är en handling. Vart Ducasse egentligen tänkte ta vägen får vi aldrig veta.

User reviews

LibraryThing member poetontheone
Lykiard's translation of Maldoror is a profoundly puzzling yet mesmerizing work. It's content is some of the strangest and most shocking in the history of literature. A misanthropic protagonist leads us through tales replete with murder, degradation, and sexual deviance (The oddly tender and intimate copulation with a female shark springs to mind immediately). Contrarily, the language that conveys this madness is often poetic, and at times humorous and conversational. The work explores different narrative structures, often switching between first and third person.

Poesies is the exact opposite of Maldoror. The straight forward language condemns writers such as Hugo and Milton for wallowing in sorrow and shame, and argues that literature must always convey hope and that man is by his nature driven to do good. It is hard to tell if this work is a satire or, conversely, if Maldoror is a warning against the very attitudes its protagonist displays. These two works; along with a selection of letters, apocryphal writings, critical fragments, and reminisces by Ducasse's (AKA Lautremont) peers provide us with an insightful portrait of this literary enigma whose work greatly inspired the Surrealist movement.
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LibraryThing member slaveofOne
The Chants of Maldoror: epic, grandiose, ludicrous, blasphemous, and foul. This book launched the Surrealist Movement.
LibraryThing member slickdpdx
A comedy of blasphemy and evil. Beware "the monstrous snail of idiocy." (p. 128)

P.S. The Guy Wernham translation looks like more fun.
LibraryThing member Jannemangan
Les Chants de Maldoror (The Songs of Maldoror) is a poetic novel (or a long prose poem) consisting of six cantos. It was written between 1868 and 1869 by the Comte de Lautréamont, the pseudonym of Isidore Lucien Ducasse. Many of the surrealists (Salvador Dalí, André Breton, Antonin Artaud, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Max Ernst, etc.) during the early 1900s cited the novel as a major inspiration to their own works and Les Chants de Maldoror, and its protagonist Maldoror, have continued to fascinate people since its publication.… (more)
LibraryThing member le.vert.galant
While I don't pretend to be an expert on 19th century Gothicism, Maldoror seems to me to be a unique presentation of evil in its most refined and unbridled form. A whole stream of 20th century experimental literature finds in source in these dark pages.
LibraryThing member apc251
This is where surrealism begins. It is a dream within a dream. This along with other symbolists - Verlaine, Beaudelaire, and Germaine Nerval are essential to freeing the confines of one's imagination.
LibraryThing member Nazgullie
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, move away and look at it from far away again, move closer and begin to inspect the smaller working parts.

Looking at abstract art is a lot like meditation for me, which is what this piece felt like. I had to let go of my preconceived notions as a reader. Often you go into a book, trying to guess ahead what will happen, what it all means. I tend to do this a lot, and because of that, I had to work slower towards it's completion.

If like me, you MUST find meaning in things, then this will be slow progress for you as it was for me. And one reading is nowhere near enough. I will be reading this book for a long time. Just as I would meditate on a painting.

Parts of this book are revolting to look at. Horrifying even. I felt like it was staining my soul as I read it, but the narrator warns us of this before we even begin. It's one of the reasons that I see genius running through this piece.

It reminds me of House of Leaves in the sense that it's construction is very much psychological, and a lot of careful thought went into how things were placed in this book.

Highly recommended, but not an easy, quick, or happy read.
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Language

Physical description

7.01 inches

ISBN

2080702084 / 9782080702081
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