August 22, 2007

Antonin Artaud - Letter to the Medical Directors of Lunatic Asylums

"We protest against any interference with the free development of delirium."

Apparently in my dark ages I had the habit of tearing pages out of books. These days, I get upset when I accidentally crack the spine of a book. I don't know which is more pathetic.

I remember Artaud's "letter" came from one of those mass-market radical psych books from the seventies, probably RD Laing related. I associate these kinds of books with the hot and musty second floor of the Philadelphia Book Trader when it was on 5th & South. I spent too much time in there with my friend Vicky when we were teenagers in the early to mid nineties. Just down the street was the amazing Tower Books, which seemed to always be open (even in snowstorms), and actually stocked ATLAS and EXACT CHANGE books. I bought the first Atlas Printed Head books "Anti-Classics" and trade editions there. I'll be scanning all those in the near future.

Hope the scans are legible. Keep in mind that Artaud underwent some brutal electroshock therapy against his will. I imagine he wrote this after he was 'cured'. (I'll have to check this because I could be misremembering.)

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