- Grab the nearest book.
- Open the book to page 23.
- Find the fifth sentence.
- Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
All right then:
And tell me whether any literary work whatsoever is compatible with states of this kind.
...the whole problem: to have within oneself the inseparable reality and the physical clarity of a feeling, to have it to such a degree that it is impossible for it not to be expressed, to have a wealth of words, of acquired turns of phrase capable of joining the dance, coming into play; and the moment the soul is preparing to organize its wealth, its discoveries, this revelation, at that unconscious moment when the thing is on the point of coming forth, a superior and evil will attacks the soul like a poison, attacks the mass consisting of word and image, attacks the mass of feeling, and leaves me panting as if at the very door of life.
And now suppose that I feel this will physically passing through me, that it jolts me with a sudden and unexpected electricity, a repeated electricity. Suppose that each of my thinking moments is on certain days shaken by these profound tempests which nothing outside betrays. And tell me whether any literary work whatsoever is compatible with states of this kind.
That is the twenty-seven–year–old Artaud writing to the editor of the prestigious Nouvelle Revue Française, the well-known poet Jacques Rivière, ten years Artaud’s senior. It is also the clearest presentation of the problem’s core we have from Artaud himself.
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