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Antonin Artaud, Stephen Barber (ed.): Artaud the Mômo

Antonin Artaud, Stephen Barber (ed.)

Artaud the Mômo

Translated by Clayton Eshleman

Softcover, 136 pages

PDF, 136 pages


Artaud the Mômo is Antonin Artaud’s most extraordinary poetic work of the brief final phase of his life, from his return to Paris from a nine-year incarceration in France’s psychiatric institutions in 1946 until his death in 1948. The work is an unprecedented anatomical excavation carried through in vocal language, envisioning new gestural futures for the human body in its splintered fragments, while also generating black-humor illuminations into Artaud’s own status as the scorned Marseille-born child-fool, the ‘mômo’ (a self-naming that fascinated Jacques Derrida in his writings on this work). Artaud moves between extreme irreligious obscenity and delicate evocations of his immediate corporeal perception and his sense of solitude. The book’s five-part sequence ends with Artaud’s caustic denunciation of psychiatric institutions and of the very conception of madness itself.


This edition, translated by Clayton Eshleman—the acclaimed foremost translator of Artaud’s work—presents the work in the spatial format Artaud intended, for the first time since its original edition in 1947. It also incorporates the eight original drawings by Artaud—showing reconfigured bodies, weapons of resistance and assault—which he selected for that edition, having initially attempted to persuade Picasso to collaborate with him.


The editorial material draws on Artaud’s previously unknown manuscript letters of 1946-48 to the book’s publisher, Pierre Bordas, which give unique insights into the work from its origins to its publication.

  • 6–25

    The Return of Artaud, the Mômo

  • 26–35

    Center-Mother and Boss-Pussy

  • 36–43

    Insult to the Unconditioned

  • 44–87

    Execration of the Father-Mother

  • 88–111

    Alienation and Black Magic

  • 113–115

    Notes by Clayton Eshleman

  • 117–132

    Stephen Barber: Artaud’s Last Work & Artaud the Mômo

  • literature
  • poetry
  • avant-garde
  • psychiatry

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Antonin Artaud

Antonin Artaud

(1896–1948) is one of the seminal figures of twentieth century writing, art and sound experimentation, known especially for his work with the Surrealist movement, his performance theories, his asylum incarcerations, and his artworks which have been exhibited in major exhibitions, at New York’s MOMA and many other art-museums.

Stephen Barber

is the author of twenty-five books, including seven novels, most recently White Noise Ballrooms and The Projectionists. Eadweard Muybridge and the Future Projections of the Moving Image. He has received several awards for his books, which have been translated into many languages, such as Japanese and Chinese. The Independent newspaper (London) once called him “the most dangerous man in Europe.” He is a professor at the Kingston School of Art, Kingston University, London, and a visiting research fellow at the Free University Berlin and Keio University Tokyo.