ABOUT THIS BOOK
A Sinister Assassin contains original translations of Antonin Artaud’s last writings and interviews, most never previously available in English.
A Sinister Assassin presents translations of Antonin Artaud’s largely unknown final work of 1947–48, revealing new insights into his obsessions with human anatomy, sexuality, societal power, creativity, and ill-will—notably, preoccupations of the contemporary world.
Artaud’s last conception of performance is that of a dance-propelled act of autopsy, generating a ”body without organs” which negates malevolent microbial epidemics. This book assembles Artaud’s crucial writings and press interviews from September 1947 to March 1948, undertaken at a decrepit pavilion in the grounds of a convalescence clinic in Ivry-sur-Seine, on the southern edge of Paris, as well as in-transit through Paris’s streets. It also draws extensively on Artaud’s manuscripts and original interviews with his friends, collaborators, and doctors throughout the 1940s, illuminating the many manifestations of Artaud’s final writings: the contents of his last, death-interrupted notebook; his letters; his two final key texts; his glossolalia; the magazine issue which collected his last fragments; and the two extraordinary interviews he gave to national newspaper journalists in the final days of his life, in which he denounces and refuses both his work’s recent censorship and his imminent death.
Edited, translated, and with an introduction by Stephen Barber, A Sinister Assassin illuminates Artaud’s last, most intensive, and terminal work for the first time.
Antonin Artaud (1896–1948) was one of the leading 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 professor at the Kingston School of Art, Kingston University, London, and a visiting research fellow at the Free University Berlin and Keio University Tokyo.