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Comte de Lautréamont - book author

Comte de Lautréamont (French pronunciation: [lotʁeaˈmɔ̃]) was the pseudonym of Isidore Lucien Ducasse, an Uruguayan-born French poet. Little is known about his life and he desired to leave no memoirs. He died at the age of 24 years old in Paris.
His only works, Les Chants de Maldoror and Poésies, had a major influence on modern literature, particularly on the Surrealists (similarly to Baudelaire and Rimbaud) and the Situationists. Comte de Lautréamont is one of the poètes maudits and a precursor to Surrealism.

Comte de Lautréamont is the author of books: Maldoror and the Complete Works, Les Chants de Maldoror, Maldoror and Poems, Les Chants de Maldoror et autres textes, Poésies, Les Chants de Maldoror: Chants I, II, III, IV, V, VI, Λωτρεαμόν, Dieci unghie secche invece di cinque, Poésies and Complete Miscellanea, The Dirges of Maldoror: An Illustrated English Translation of Les Chants de Maldoror

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Andre Breton described Maldoror as -the expression of a revelation so complete it seems to exceed human potential.- Little is known about its pseudonymous author, aside from his real name (Isidore Ducasse), birth in Uruguay (1846) and early death in Paris (1870). Lautreamont bewildered his contemporaries, but the Surrealists modeled their efforts after his black humor and poetic leaps of logic, exemplified by the oft-quoted line, -As beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella.- Maldoror 's shocked first publisher refused to bind the sheets of the original edition--and perhaps no better invitation exists to this book, which warns the reader, -Only the few may relish this bitter fruit without danger.- This is the only complete annotated collection of Lautreamont's writings available in English, in Alexis Lykiard's superior translation. For this latest edition, Lykiard updates his introduction to include recent scholarship.
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 of Maldoror, 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.
Alternate version of this book.

‘It is not right that everyone should read the pages which follow; only a few will be able to savour this bitter fruit with impunity.’

So wrote the self-styled Comte de Lautréamont (1846–70) at the beginning of this sensational Chants de Maldoror.

One of the earliest and most astonishing examples of surrealist writing, Lautréamont’s fantasy unveils a world – half-vision, half-nightmare – of angels and gravediggers, hermaphrodites and pederasts, lunatics and strange children. The writing is drenched with an unrestrained savagery and menace, and the startling imagery – delirious, erotic, blasphemous and grandiose by turns – possesses a remarkable hallucinatory quality.

The writer’s mysterious life and death, no less than the book itself, captured the imagination of surrealists. Jarry, Modigliani, Verlaine and others hailed it as a work of genius. André Gide wrote, ‘Here is something that excites me to the point of delirium,’ and André Breton described the book as ‘the expression of a total revelation which seems to surpass human capacities’.

This volume also contains a translation of the epigrammatic Poésies.
De la peste, du pus et des poux : tel pourrait être le leitmotiv de cet invraisemblable petit brûlot, tout entier nourri de violence, d'idées morbides et de délires à la limite du supportable. Et que n'ont pas supporté les bien-pensants de l'époque, les mêmes qui, à Charleville, méprisaient Rimbaud et l'accusaient, comme on accusa Lautréamont, de vouloir tuer la poésie. Mais le vertige et la démesure furent plus forts que les réactionnaires : Maldoror, le double maléfique de Lautréamont, en crachant son poison et son fiel, jetait les bases d'une des oeuvres les plus énigmatiques et les plus fascinantes de notre poésie.

Alchimie délirante d'un esprit dément, sublime perle noire née d'un champ d'ordures, Les Chants de Maldoror demeurent l'une des rares traces de la fulgurante trajectoire d'Isidore Ducasse, mystérieusement foudroyé en pleine jeunesse. Sa mort, après son oeuvre illuminée, allait alimenter sa légende et le faire entrer dans le club très fermé des poètes mythiques. --Karla Manuele

ΝΑ ΓΝΩΡΙΖΟΥΜΕ ΤΟΝ ΛΩΤΡΕΑΜΟΝ, να μάθουμε την ηλικία του, το χρώμα των ματιών του ή το μήκος των δακτύλων του, θα παραμείνουν πλέον ευσεβείς πόθοι. Εκατό χρόνια πέρασαν από τη γέννησή του, εκατό χρόνια που δεν σημαίνουν τίποτα, με εξαίρεση αυτούς που πιστεύουν πως ο χρόνος μπορεί να ασκήσει κάποια επίδραση πάνω στο πνεύμα, γι' αυτούς που αφήνονται να τους ροκανίσουν οι μέρες, να τους αφανίσουν οι καρκίνοι του γήρατος, της φιλοξενίας και της δόξας.
Ο Λωτρεαμόν δεν θα γίνει ποτέ ιστορικό πρόσωπο. Βρίσκεται έξω από την ιστορία της λογοτεχνίας και των ηθών.
Όσοι ακολούθησαν ή θα θελήσουν να ακολουθήσουν την αυλακιά που χάραξε πάνω στο άπειρο άδειο διάστημα, που μας κυκλώνει, και να μετρήσουν τούτο το φως και τούτον τον ήχο, να αντέξουν τούτη την τόσο δυνατή οσμή και τούτη την τόσο πικρή γεύση που, από τα Άσματα του Μαλντορόρ ως τις Ποιήσεις, παραμένουν οι ακαταμάχητές τους εμμενείς ιδέες, ας πλησιάσουν κι ας ακούσουν τη συμβουλή του Ιζιντόρ Ντυκάς, του Λωτρεαμόν, του Μαλντορόρ, ας έρθουν να δουν οι ίδιοι, αν δεν θέλουν να τον πιστέψουν. [...]
Carmine Mangone ci introduce alla figura del conte di Lautréamont attraverso la rilettura di sette lettere, le uniche arrivate fino a noi, e delle "Poésies". Da queste testimonianze emerge l'impegno anti-romantico di Lautréamont. In modo particolare dalle "Poesie", potenti frammenti aforistici e veri e propri proclami, emerge l'impetuosa opera di demolizione dell'estetica ottocentesca e il segno di una prima semina che condurrà ai frutti maturi del surrealismo e delle avanguardie storiche.
'Les Chants de Maldoror' was virtually ignored when first published in 1869, a year before the author's death in Paris in 1870. Decades later the Surrealists discovered the work and hailed Lautréamont as an important precursor to Surrealism. Elements of 'Maldoror' have since mitigated against a widespread awareness of the work, but much of its satire remains just as pertinent today.