Christine Wertheim

Fous Littéraires: Mad linguists and other literary fools

Fous Littéraires vs Nonsense: Part 3

The Schizo: Antoine Marie Joseph Artaud (1896–1948) — Fou Littéraire No. 4
Portrait of Artaud

 Jabberwocky is a bowdlerized plagiarism of a work which I wrote but which was suppressed so that I hardly know myself what was in it. (Antonin Artaud, letter to Henri Parisot, 1945)

Fou Littéraire vs. nonsense: part 2

The 'non' in the Non-Sense
Medieval map of world

In previous posts, I have used the capitalized and hyphenized term "Non-Sense" instead of the more common “nonsense,” which can be either a noun or an adjective. However, I prefer Non-Sense, at least for the noun, as it draws attention to both the "negative" side of its referent, and to its duplicity. This is to say no more nor less than is implied by Deleuze and Guattari's concept of "the School."

Fous Littéraires vs. non-sense

Part 1: The little girl
Alice, illustration by John Tenniel

The main interest for early lovers of Roussel's work, such as the surrealists and Duchamp, was its bizarre content – the impossible tableaux vivants and unlikely narratives in which these were supposedly contextualized and “explained.” However, in the second half of the 20th century, focus definitively shifted to the (deeper) structural logics (revealed in How I came to write certain of my books) that generate these contents as their (surface) effects.

Fous Littéraires: Some examples from a non-cannon — No. 3

Raymond Roussel (1877–1933): Part 2 — The work 'explained'

"How I came to write certain of my books," R. Roussel, cover


Fous Littéraires: Some examples from a non-cannon — No. 3

Raymond Roussel (1877–1933): Part 1 — Life and influences

Raymond Roussel, with Star

Rich, gay, habitually solitary and a cross-dresser, or better, simply an inveterate dresser-(upper), Raymond Roussel is, along with Antonin Artaud, by far the most well-known fou, if not necessarily its most beloved, at least not by those who consider themselves serious students of the genre. That honor I would argue goes to Jean-Pierre Brisset, of whom more later.