Antonin Artaud’s Alternate Genealogies
Self-Portraits and Family Romances
Most readers know Antonin Artaud as a theorist of the theatre and as a playwright, director and actor manqué. Now, John C. Stout’s highly original study installs Artaud as a writer and theorist of biography.
In Alternate Genealogies Stout analyzes two separate but interrelated preoccupations central to Artaud’s work: the self-portrait and the family romance. He shows how Artaud, in several important but relatively neglected texts, rewrites the life stories of historical and literary figures with whom he identifies (for example, Paolo Ucello, Abelard, Van Gogh and Shelley’s Francesco Cenci) in an attempt to reinvent himself through the image, or life, of another. Throughout the book Stout focusses on Artaud’s struggles to recover the sense of self that eludes him and to master the reproductive process by recreating the family in — and as — his own fantasies of it. With this research John C. Stout has added considerably to our understanding of Artaud.
His book will be much appreciated by theatre scholars, Artaud specialists, Freudians, Lacanians and both theorists and practitioners of life writing.