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Maldoror and Poems by Comte de Lautréamont
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Maldoror and Poems (1869)

by Comte de Lautréamont

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Maldoror is a prose poem consisting of nightmarish images of the thoughts and actions of its eponymous character who is the embodiment of evil. The author rambles more than not, often directly addressing the reader to describe the plan or intent of what he is about to write. Much of the work is anti-religious, addressing the Creator in vulgar, mocking or accusatory modes, often using the ideas and vocabulary of science and mathematics. The idea of this perplexing work appears to be to introduce an aesthetics of evil or, at best, amorality, with such jarring phrases as "as beautiful as the trembling hand of an alcoholic." There are some memorable surrealistic images throughout the book, but it strength seems to remain in how it is written rather than what it says.

The two short "poems" at the end of the volume are actually essays that, despite the introducer's efforts to claim the contrary, seem to attack the very notion of having such a work as Maldoror. They call for a return to writings of simple moral instruction, and assert that virtually all fiction and poetry is worse than garbage.

This odd book has more than a few haunting images but didn't mean much to me as a whole. ( )
  StevenTX | Nov 26, 2011 |
Maldoror, which greatly influenced the Surrealist movement when a copy was discovered on an old shelf, is full of imagery and poetic ranting, some of it completely random (a man with a pelican-head with a dung beetle for instance, or god's enormous pubic-hair) all meant to shock and affect the reader in some way. My personal favorite section was the hermaphrodite, in which Lautreamont sketches the life of such a person as one would an angel. It brilliantly stands out amidst the chapters of monsters and Maldoror's ambivalence towards mankind.
1 vote jenesuispas | Oct 11, 2009 |
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