Antonin Artaud

Antoine Marie Joseph Artaud, better known as Antonin Artaud (4 September 1896 – 4 March 1948), was a French playwright, poet, actor and theatre director. Antonin is a diminutive form of Antoine “little Anthony”, and was among a list of names which Artaud used throughout his writing career.

His best-known work, The Theatre and Its Double, was published in 1938. This book contained the two manifestos of the Theatre of Cruelty. There, “he proposed a theatre that was in effect a return to magic and ritual and he sought to create a new theatrical language of totem and gesture – a language of space devoid of dialogue that would appeal to all the senses.”[3] “Words say little to the mind,” Artaud wrote, “compared to space thundering with images and crammed with sounds.” He proposed “a theatre in which violent physical images crush and hypnotize the sensibility of the spectator seized by the theatre as by a whirlwind of higher forces.” He considered formal theatres with their proscenium arches and playwrights with their scripts “a hindrance to the magic of genuine ritual.” Outstanding academic paper ‘The Reinvention of the Human Face’ by Donald Gardner, offering a close examination into the world of Antonin Artaud (archived).

BrainyQuote Several quotations made by Antonin Artaud during his lifetime. Brief Artaud biography.

Google Images Fascinating selection of photographs and illustrations of Antonin Artaud.

Mary Lynch Brief summary of Artaud and his Theatre of Cruelty, including pictures of Antonin Artaud.

Moe Spencer Synopsis of a film My Life and Times with Antonin Artaud.

Susan Sontag Biography of Antonin Artaud examining his relationship with his art. Outstanding article about Antonin Artaud’s theories on theatre.

Yale University Biography of Artaud detailing some of his techniques.

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