Translated by R J Dent
Illustrated by Salvador Dalí
Foreword by Paul Éluard
Introduction by Candice Black
Lautréamont’s Biography by Jeremy Reed
264 pages, 22 half-tones, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Series: Solar Books – Solar Nocturnal
Published June 2011
‘A new, definitive edition of Lautréamont’s influential masterpiece. Vividly translated by R J Dent.’
Le Comte de Lautréamont was the nom de plume of Isidore Ducasse (1846–70), a Uruguayan-born French writer and poet whose only surviving major work of fiction, The Songs of Maldoror (Les Chants de Maldoror), was discovered by the Surrealists, who hailed the work as a dark progenitor of their movement. It was in The Songs of Maldoror that André Breton discovered the phrase that would come to represent the Surrealist doctrine of objective chance: “as beautiful as the random encounter between an umbrella and a sewing-machine upon a dissecting-table.”
Artists inspired by Lautréamont include Man Ray, René Magritte, Max Ernst, André Masson, Joan Miró, Yves Tanguy and, in particular, Salvador Dalí, who in 1933 produced an entire series of illustrations for The Songs of Maldoror. Twenty of those illustrations are included, for the first time, in this new, definitive edition of Lautréamont’s influential masterpiece. Vividly translated by R J Dent – the first new translation for over thirty years – this edition also includes a foreword by French Surrealist poet Paul Éluard and a concise biography of the author by poet Jeremy Reed. In addition, an introduction by series editor Candice Black details the links between Maldoror and the Surrealist movement.
The Songs of Maldoror is a poetic novel (or a long prose poem) consisting of six cantos. It was written between 1868 and 1869 by Le Comte de Lautréamont, the pseudonym of Isidore Ducasse. During the early 1900s, many of the surrealists (Salvador Dalí, André Breton, Antonin Artaud, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray and Max Ernst) cited the novel as a major inspiration to their own works. The Songs of Maldoror has continued to fascinate readers since its publication.
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