Date of Award

1995

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Adelaide Russo

Abstract

In my dissertation entitled Comment redessiner le monde: Art et anthropologie dans l'oeuvre d'Antonin Artaud, I examine Artaud' s critical writings on painting, music and theatre which are central to his reflection. My research focuses on key concepts in Artaud's writings such as "culture," "primitivite" and "mythe." Notwithstanding the complexity and controversial aspects of these notions in the post-modern era, Artaud uses them as pivot points in the articulation of a totally new philosophy of life, which places art at the heart of social activity. My first point underlines Artaud's belief that western civilization alienates the artist from the pervading inner spiritual forces of the universe and that, under the burden of uncompromising institutions which enslave rather than liberate man's creative powers, this culture and its artists are doomed. From this perspective, I show that Artaud considers plastic arts as a ritualistic means to express renewed myths which he considers as fundamental to the revival of the human spirit and the birth of a new culture. I illustrate this essential aspect with the works of Artaud's favorite painters. My central argument is articulated around Artaud's incarceration in 1937. I believe that from that time on, the poet's reflection on western metaphysical laws undergoes a radical change. My dissertation analyzes the implications and the significance of this shift. It is my hypothesis that through his writings and artistic works, Artaud seeks to create a new cosmogony which entails a symbolic system of resistance against the judeo-christian God and leads to a creation of his own, best described as an intuition of a new form of existence. Whatever the context of Artaud's considerations on art, artistic endeavor remains a powerful ritualistic mode which the poet deems necessary not only for the spiritual awakening of man and the implementation of "la vraie culture" but also, and most importantly, for his own survival and intellectual autonomy. Through his writings and drawings--which often include glossographia--I explore the complex relationship between word and image, which Artaud had chosen as privileged ways to express both social change and an unprecedented sense of spiritual awakening.

Pages

374

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