vendredi 18 septembre 2015

Continue FOUCAULT - ARTAUD. War, Power and Psychiatry.

Artaud dans la guerre (Blusson, 2013)

Florence de MÈREDIEU*,
Antonin Artaud in war.
From Verdun to Hitler. The mental hygiene.
Paris, Blusson, 2013.

Author interview with Jean-Joseph GOUX **

JJG. - I am struck by the extraordinary lever that is the question of the war to understand the life and work of Artaud. Once adopted this thread, it seems that what makes the mystery and creative power of Artaud, as well as the tragedy of his existence, are a powerful illumination. Obsessed with theater, the need and urgency of poetry, cinema function, the grip of madness, all this placed in the harsh light of the war makes sense - and an incredibly strong sense inevitable.
How did you come to identify this lever, from what or which approach trajectory, war is it you appeared as a great revealer ?

FDM. - The structural dimension, cosmological or even "metaphysical", of the war in the work and thought of Artaud, I had identified very early and expressed from my first texts on this author. Published in 1976 in the journal Obliques, one of these texts concerned alchemy and revolved around the character of Heliogabalus (1). In the background of the character's adventures, Artaud erected in the background that he calls a "war of principles". Based on the thinking of the ancient Greeks, as well as on Eastern and Egyptian sources, alchemy designs the world confrontational manner and powerfully dynamic. It is the struggle between the elements and man's struggle against those elements that can transform matter, the world ... and the man himself. Artaud takes these ideas on his own and made it the basis of his theater. The very nature of Artaud, his psychological configuration is that of a "warrior". He opposes, fights, enters conflict, makes enemies and thus does not stop appearing in motion, in transformation.

But it is not this aspect of the war that is the main purpose of the latter book. This is to work and take into account a precise historical reality : that of the war of 14-18. In the biography of Artaud I published in 2006, C'était Antonin Artaud (Paris, Fayard), I took into account amount of historical data about the poet's life during the two great wars of the twentieth century, 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. Regarding the First World War, I especially emphasized the importance of these stays it performs repetition - between 1915 and 1920 - in health houses. These trips seemed to me determinants. But I had not studied the context of the 1914 war, especially this war psychiatry so important, so terrible and that has had such an impact on the lives of individuals who cross.

In terms of the 1939-1945 war, my research had been more searched. In 1996, I had spent on electroshock a book that contains the first historical study of this treatment which began in France in 1941-42 and will grow considerably. And on an international level. Artaud's life during this period and the impact of this particular psychiatric treatment on the mind and work of Artaud (particularly the Cahiers de Rodez) had been an important part of this book (2). The impact of this war, redoubled that of such other war led by Artaud against the doctors and their treatments, was well known to me.

It is by reading the many letters (largely unpublished) forwarded by Artaud to Dr. Leon Fouks, whom he met in early 1939 in Ville-Evrard, which was again put to me the question of the importance of the war in the mental processes, language and creative Artaud. These letters are of extreme violence and a flamboyant style quite exceptional. They are certainly part of the most VIOLENT letters of French literature. Their relationship to the war is obvious. The war gets ready ; we see it rise, come, until it is declared, Dr. Fouks being went to the front, letters stops. Hitler is already present in these letters. It ends up the Artaud sending of a letter and a spell to Hitler in September 1939 (3).

The reading of these letters brought me to review the question of the context of the 1914-1918 war. Immediately, I thought of La Revue neurologique, so rich of articles, comments, ratings and I had much frequented for the period 1939-1945. - So I plunged into neurological Reviews the years 1915-1919. And there, it was a succession of shocks. What I learned was both terrible, exciting and absolutely decisive. Not only for Artaud and his entire generation, but for future generations. We are always caught in the net of which was then set up in terms of what can only be called a "mental and social engineering."

The study and accurate account of how this war were therefore a considerable leverage. - All this is then extended by substantial research in different archive centers of the Great War. It is necessary to me to insist on this point : I consulted some historian works of the Great War, but most of what I have found comes from unpublished archival documents and medical literature of time. - The discovery of this context (exceptional in every way : the horror and magnitude of the conflict adds horror psychiatric treatment) brings to my mind the need for full replay of work and life of Artaud.

JJG. - World War is sometimes said that was the event that marked the beginning of a disaffection for science, modern techniques, and even Western reason. It is with this war that scientific innovations, which passed in principle for factors of progress, have shown their dangerous face, grimacing. Aviation, radio, chemical weapons, tanks, etc. : many technical advances that have turned against men. A general critique of Reason and Progress, therefore, a critical underlying values of the "Philosophie des Lumières", was born with this bitterness and disappointment. Artaud had he not been an incarnation of this early turning point, even more than Breton, in the midst of the debacle of technological reason, kept a political hope, utopian, that was not Artaud, monopolized by pain, personal troubles that no social and collective hope would have known lessen ?

FDM. - What was the role of science and "reason" in the 1914-1918 conflict ? And after ? These are two separate issues and complex. During the War of 1914, science and technology (which represent an application) are making considerable progress. I will here the only example of medicine (which is fundamental to Artaud), but we could apply the same principle to other areas (arms, communication skills, management of society - civil and military, etc.). The battlefield provides a considerable number of dead, wounded and shell-shocked to be much observation and research objects. The war has become a gigantic laboratory, medicine made tremendous progress. Surgical advances, better knowledge of how the body and the human brain, significant refinements in the production of prostheses, etc. The research was in no masting during this period. On the contrary, it is in full. Written overcrowded doctors - during the war and after - are there to testify.

It happens the same with what is called "social engineering". The war calls for further rationalization of human behavior. The staff looks for maximum efficiency and individuals find themselves crushed in the system, forced to go to the front and to return as soon as possible.

It is obviously the opposite of the "Raison des Lumières" (for this reason that presented itself as a form of wisdom) and probably much closer to the "positivist reason" of the nineteenth century ("rationality" tending to return to an efficient process, "operational", "economic"). The first war anticipates on this point the dreadful process of "rationalization" of exterminating war machine of the 3rd Reich. Artaud (as Louis-Ferdinand Celine) discovers the dimension of this infernal machinery. There are few escapes, but to find in other nets, traps other, equally effective : those of psychiatry, disease and the "mental hygiene" which had such an impact on his life, his psyche and his work.

Hence, conversely, post-war and culturally, some form of critique of progress, reason and a call on principals and ideals of anarchist behavior. This is the case of Breton and Surrealism. And Dada who started much earlier and developed during the war. This is also the case of Artaud who cease to grow rebellion and anarchy.

But surrealism remains, too, the equivalent of a machine, with its fake scandals, processes of exclusion, its actually very rational approaches. The case of Artaud is interesting precisely because it illustrates and embodies both an absolute rebellion system (a folly that will control in part by leading to its ultimate term) and forced submission to a psychiatric system who seized him in 1915, which keeps the pressure during its ascent in Paris and its implementation in fact "under the supervision" of Dr. Toulouse (strong supporter of Mental Hygiene) and just continue during the long series of successive internments. The trap now, the relentless mental machinery have closed in on him.

It is therefore necessary to distinguish a certain culture, based on the unconscious, random, anarchism, etc., (culture is the fact of the intelligentsia and artists) of the running of the society at the same time. The post-war years (1919-1939) were marked by considerable upheaval. These result in chaos and deep cracks in the social fabric, but this also has the corollary, throughout Europe, a rise of the state powers and institutions. A rational process (understood as positivist, pragmatic and policy term) seeks indeed to work and control the entire social body. - Do not forget that in the years preceding the second world war, Artaud refers to the work of Dr. Alexis Carrel, L'Homme, cet inconnu, published in 1935 by an author known what was the trajectory all points favorable to the development of Nazism.

JJG. - Even mathematics, one might suggest, does not emerge unscathed from the war. There is a very impressive case advanced by mathematician Gaston Julia (1893-1978) in connection with the war. This great mathematician was a broken mouth. He was second lieutenant of infantry in the Chemin des Dames, where he was severely hit in the face in 1915. Despite numerous operations, he will wear a leather mask on the face, to conceal the horrific effects of the war injury. What can invent a mathematical broken face ? Well, what is extraordinary is that Julia, gifted mathematician and surdiplômé at the outbreak of the war, will become during the war, and after his injury, the precursor of mathematical theories of chaos and that Mandelbrot called later fractals, the continuous curves but infinitely broken, broken, broken if they have no assignable direction (so no tangent) in a given period (for there are always other chips in the break). It is hardly believable (4).

The face of Artaud did not suffer the same fate as that of Gaston Julia, mathematician leather mask, broken jaws of high algebra. This beautiful face remained intact ; he is the one in the eyes of both transparent and inflamed the silent cinema has demonstrated. Yet Artaud, too, is internally broken mouth. The "Théâtre de la cruauté" of Artaud, one could say that he is his algebra fractals. The theater seeks to make sensible, to bring out a fundamental heterogeneous, the theater founded on the word can not reach. "Cris, plaintes, apparitions, surprises, coups de théâtre de toutes sortes. Apparitions concrètes d'objets neufs et surprenants, changements brusques de la lumière"(5) : is not this the show from the front, the theater, dangerous and atrocious, of trenches ? Artaud wants that they are "des pilonnages éperdus de rhythms et de sons" (6). A total spectacle, wrapping, which the viewer can not claim to entrench precisely by the separation between the room and the stage. There is "une sorte de lieu unique, sans cloisonnement ni barrière d'aucune sorte" (7). And "le spectateur placé au milieu de l'action est enveloppé et sillonné par elle" (8).

The "Théâtre de la Cruauté" is one of the operations, the cruel scene of trench warfare where the soldier is subject to incessant bombings, "pilonnages éperdus" that come from everywhere. - Theatre of dissonance. That arises as a juxtaposition of heterogeneous elements, senses no links, no reason related to each other. These dissonances, "nous les ferons chevaucher d'un ens à l'autre, d'une couleur à un son, dune parole à un éclairage, d'une trepidation de gestes à une tonalité plane de sons, etc., etc. "(9). Again, one could perceive a reality indérivable, fractal, an indefinite juxtaposition, infinitely fragmented, without a meaning, a direction could emerge.

And in the chaotic din of exploding shells, bullets whistling, which injured howl, the soldier was speechless, his word is powerless, and his action is only a series of sketches gestures. It is very close to what Artaud wrote in "Le Théâtre de la Cruauté", speaking of gestures and attitudes "constitués par l'amas de tous les gestes impulsifs, de toutes les attitudes manqué, de tows les lapsus de l'esprit et de la langue, par lesquels se manifeste ce que l'on pourrait appeler les impuissances de la parole "(10).

After reading your striking book, it becomes impossible to read the texts on Artaud, "Le Théâtre de la Cruauté", without finding everywhere, in the vocabulary of the poet (shelling, shootings, assaults, mines) and in the situations and phenomena that he described, the reminiscence or the insistent repetition, a desired repetition but moved to the theatrical fiction, what the soldiers experienced trench. The "Théâtre de la Cruauté" would be like a long history of experience of the First World War. And we can understand this kind of rawness inimitable poetry of Artaud later this clashing hard vocables, both trivial and unusual, such as impacts and shrapnel in the body of the tongue, this exact imagination, rigorous, surgical and trepanation.

FDM. - Chaos, breaking and overall fragmentation seized landscape - geographical and emotional - at the time of the War of 1914, these are elements highlighted by Artaud when he began, in February 1945, writing his Cahiers de Rodez. This question of the almost infinite fragmentation of development of vital energy was highlighted in 1907 by Bergson in L'Evolution crétrice. The example he referred to the shell to "fragmentation" of course is a striking metaphor when one realizes that he has the intuition few years before the outbreak of the conflict that such use will this weapon of war. This chaos, this fragmentation, the size and rhizomatic "Deleuze before the letter" is an important explanatory scheme drawings and amulets that spattered the Cahiers of Antonin Artaud and I tried to analysis this point in Antonin Artaud and war.

I make however, some reservations with respect to the issue of "fractals". - Based on an abyss delivery system of a form (which duplicates and repeats within itself), fractals (whether regular or irregular) are, ultimately, modeled and therefore controllable. The rhizome of Deleuze and Felix Guattari his sidekick seems to go well beyond fractals. He escapes, he fled ... and is proving so difficult to control… Artaud has a term for this : it is the "poussiéral". The "indérivables" you quote and that tie from "stem" or distinct origins, seem to me closer to the "rhizome" of Deleuze, also more apt to allow an apprehension graphics and maze of ideographic Mômo.

This Deleuzian question of the crack, the breaking of the forms of drawing, I developed it in the other book I just spend the universe "rhizomatic" of Vincent Van Gogh and Antonin Artaud, Vincent Van Gogh Antonin Artaud Ciné-peinture Ciné-roman (11). Deleuze and Guattari are two of the "characters" that are involved in this "ciné-roman." Deleuzian metaphor of infinite differentiation it makes sense.

As for now, these cracked faces, sprayed, the "broken faces" survivors of the massacre, one wonders if Artaud had the opportunity - during the war or in the immediate post-war period - to view or to attend. The image of Artaud "handsome" and dandy - Simone Breton described in these terms in the 1920s : "Beautiful as a wave and friendly as a disaster" - is in total contradiction with the way Artaud lives of inside. The body image of the poet is already that of a cracked shocked damaged. At the very end of his life (following deprivation and electroshock treatments), the face of Artaud somehow join these "broken faces" that he could know when or after World War I. In 1946, he certainly still has what Paule Thevenin described as maintaining a "royal" but all decays. The framework is there, intact. But we perceive cracks, breaks.

As for the "Théâtre de la Cruauté" it obviously refers to the process of the 1914-1918 war. At the front, double and terrifying, this war was a butcher, which size to the heart of flesh, and - then - tries (so just as "cruel") to "fix", trim, amputate, dissect, "sail". All text of Artaud then take meaning and new terrain when replayed by the yardstick of what is implementing this work, Antonin Artaud in war.

The very term "theater of operations" is extremely rich in terms Artaud. This is first of this theater of military operations unfolding in a given territory, which continues to change and transform in progressively deployment, the advances and retreats of the opposing forces. Now this is how Artaud describes asylum (especially in his letters to Dr. Fouks, 1939) relations with the world of psychiatry, with his doctors, and more broadly with the world and with himself. Artaud is at war ; he defends himself, accumulates around him forts and defense systems ; he also attacks, using offensive weapons (bombs, spells, war machines, breaths, gestures, etc.).

The second meaning or dimension of this "theater" is medical. This is called an operation to surgical sense. As in this butchery and this laboratory that was the war of 14-18, it is for Momo to repair, to operate in the lively and in meat, to put the man (evil done by God) on the operating table and to repeat it anatomy. This is the very foundation of the "Théâtre de la Cruauté" of Artaud ; it certainly took its roots in the conflict in the Great War. And field : in these mobile hospitals and ephemeral rear trenches and reconstructive surgery in these centers that swarmed.

All text of Artaud is then reread. Everything takes in the light of the context of war, accurate and senseless resonances. This is true of the "Pèse-Nerfs", of L'Ombilic des limbes, Le Théâtre et son double, of Heliogabale, and the "Cahiers de Rodez" and "Cahiers du retour à Paris," of Van Gogh, etc.. There is a fundamental key. All his work is enquille in this system.

JJG. - Among the psychiatric and military documents that you exhumed, and that you analyze in detail, there is all this controversy around the concept of simulation and simulator. Hunting simulators supposed to send them to fight at the front despite their claims and their behavior seems to have been one of the major concerns of military doctors, and one of the issues where we see the most acutely and most nerve conflict, often the opposition, but also the risk of collusion between the military and doctors. In addition, you watch how much Artaud, comedian at heart, could learn from this entire hospital situation where the simulation is both ubiquitous and hunted mercilessly. This is probably one of the situations where cross in the most amazing way the "artistic" concerns (or rather metaphysical) Artaud and context of the war. Can you comment on that ?

FDM. - This "obsession" of the simulation (and simulation of mental illness during the conflict of 14-18) is one of the most extraordinary processes that are. This process first notes of this theatrology, which is found in all warriors process and was then obviously well represented.

We understand that there is behind it of strategic imperatives. The top military government needs its soldiers and intends to return as soon as possible to the front concussed or traumatized soldiers but "without apparent injuries." Hunting simulation then in full swing. The process is racing and we see the doctors themselves resorting to deception process (or simulation) to confuse all these "pithiatic" or "alleged injuries." Other psychiatrists are working to describe and discern the nuances and possible categories of simulations. All this is done in terms that are reminiscent of a kind of learning (or initiation) dramatic or theatrical.

And this is, of course, that we find Antonin Artaud, a master from the children in these games and these tricks, this dramatic casuistry that passes through the simulation of feelings, passions, roles. - Artaud has he been at the front ? Has he known fireproof ? The page of military register, which I reproduce in the book does not say. We only know that a few months after enlisting in the army, it is "reformed temporary". - Personally, and after re-reading the texts he wrote in the years following the war, I tend to think that he briefly experienced the forehead, he could then undergo a form of "shock" and on repatriation rear. This experience is then amplified, enlarged, it is in the realm of possibility. This would explain this "history" that permanent return of an old warrior trauma that never left him and he will find untouched during World War II - it goes (remember) in asylums at Ville-Evrard and Rodez.

It would then raise this theatrical dimension (and simulation or over-simulation) that are found so frequently in the madness. The little theater of Charenton where Donatien de Sade acts, hysterical Charcot until "Châtelet" and black magic rituals Artaud describes in his texts of Ville-Evrard and Rodez. Doctors and patients play roles. A number of them have been (at least partially) consciousness. This was probably the case of Gaston Ferdière and also Antonin Artaud. It is on this point that to read the letters that the poet wrote to his doctor (12). - All this being situate, to relocate in the context of this gigantic theater of war operations we have mentioned.

JJG. - You approach the difficult question, thorny, madness of Hitler. This question is tricky because the pitfall that you fully aware and that you avoid completely is to go so far in asserting, description and analysis of a crazy Hitler at the most clinical sense Psychiatric and most of the term, that individual would be discharged as part of the responsibility for terrible crimes, monstrous, he committed. Obviously, it would be absurd that the finding of a Hitler madness lead to such a conclusion, and you spread your vigorous, with good reason. At the same time, there is such fanaticism, such an obsession, such irrationality in the ideas and behavior of the character, during his lifetime, many arose the question of his sanity. You remember the "coup psychiatrists" in 1938, when German psychiatrists tried with the support of some officers to detain Hitler, unfortunately without success.

I had once tried to understand from the idea of a religious structure (or pseudo-religious) of Nazism, Hitler psychosis mechanism. It is structured around a competition - almost metaphysical - mimetic type a religious jealousy between the Jewish people and the German people, two peoples who, in the eyes of Hitler, are too similar in some respects, for not fight. There can be only one "chosen people," said the leader of the Nazi party. The formulations of Hitler, found in his talks with Hermann Rauschning (Hitler told me, 1939) are extremely revealing. It is true that the authenticity of these statements has been challenged. But if these formulations do not come directly from Hitler would have had conversations with Rauschning (who is also the author of the influential book The revolution of nihilism, 1940), it would have however found Nazi literature, and could thus indirectly be Hitler as the origin.

Your approach is different and more clinical. It's not so much the imaginary structure, ideology of Nazism that interests you that the findings of neurological disease that affects "Corporal Hitler", since participating in the battles of the Great War. With his injury in the left thigh by shrapnel in 1916, and the mustard gas attack which he suffered in 1918, and that leaves the partially blind, Hitler knows the fate of thousands of soldiers affected by the war. But the amazing thing is that his ocular involvement is not considered by doctors to be within ophthalmology, but of psychiatry. He suffers from mental blindness. This is by suggestions of techniques and autosuggestions Dr. Forster enables him gradually regain his sight. With the analysis of "medical record" Corporal Hitler, then you put yourself closer to clinical reality, psychiatric then. But that does not prevent you to show how the episode of the healing for Hitler becomes the starting point of a great overestimation of himself, incitement to "believe in him blindly," and the beginning of an extreme theatrical hysteria that led him to exert influence over the masses that we know.

We thus find, again, as with Artaud, war, insanity, drama. Of course there is an abysmal difference between the two characters. Artaud is a poor man who interned fantasy, delirious, who scribbled in his notebooks, which covers drawing paper before it ; Hitler, he is in power, supreme commander of a powerful army that invaded Europe and sent to the death of millions of people. - How are you justified this link ? What is the nature of this link ? What it is instructive despite the obvious difference between the two existences ?
FDM. – As you marked, the question is extremely complex. What seems most important is that we touch here (through the character of Hitler - to another degree through Artaud, Céline and many others) to meet the madness and the ideology. This issue is complicated by what it is crossed by the dual questions of liability and evil. "Being crazy", is to escape the evil ? The fool is it cleared of all responsibility ? The question is difficult. And all the more difficult as the individual question is intensified a collective question. There are diseases, neuroses and mass psychoses. The image of (or) fool (s) to power "is a powerfully rooted in fact reality. As the approximation Hitler / Artaud, it is directly recorded in history. Hitler, Artaud, Céline (and many others) found themselves on the battlefield of 14-18. Their experiments are all both specific and the like. Artaud and Hitler were both faced psychiatry of war at the time. The treatments were then almost the same from one side to the other of the front. The discovery in consequence of the episode of Pasewalk, disorders and healing "suggestion" of Hitler, who will be subsequently reinstated (and processed) in the legend of the Führer, is an episode more than troubling. Corporal Hitler emerges "cured", and now ready to subject its destiny to that of Germany.

The question you ask, concerning the responsibility of Hitler, the key to whether we should consider it healthy to mind and therefore responsible for atrocities. The issue is probably due to the scale of these atrocities, and also what might be called the dimension (or "quality") of these atrocities. Do wrong, produce and generate the "absolute evil", is a folly, a senseless act ? It remains there on the order of an official act, that is to say "healthy"? - The question itself seems impossible to ask, to state. This problem seems to be able to speak only in the mode of an aporia. And not being able to find an answer. It is as if we had crossed the double threshold of what we ordinarily call logic, reason and humanity, morality. Are only a stupor ... and a strict impossibility to think ... the phenomenon.

It is as if, in addition to the atrocities at a scale not previously achieved by humanity, Hitler had succeeded in imposing an impossibility think his gesture, marking the very limits of thought, of knowledge and of human judgment. We certainly know what is wrong, what is wrong, but we do not manage to detect in the source or human origin. The same monstrosity of his actions parasite our judgment. If he is mad, actually, it is not responsible and it is not crazy, how to think, organize, styling atrocities ?

The second reason (if not "justification") the presence of the Reich Chancellor Then in our story is the importance Artaud grants him at the time of World War II, at this time when himself interned in French asylums, desperately seeking a way out and supports. Totally irrational (known Hitler's positions vis-à-vis the mentally ill), the poet expects to find in him a support. Hence these letters and Sort Hitler which he hopes will deliver him. Artaud will draw up the plans for Hitler asylum of Ville-Evrard so that he can retrieve it. This reference has, Artaud, no passenger. It will maintain, amplify, sometimes veer grotesque and caricature. This is, of course, the power that is in question : that of a Chancellor who sends (as you marked) a large part of Europe and the world to death, while he, the psychiatric internment, has absolutely no power ... if not the (ridiculous at that time) anger and words ... Besides this, and as I argue, there would be - between the two men - many differences but also some similarities in the theatrical behavior that is theirs.

The other plan of attack, perhaps most important, concerns the "mental hygiene" I much talk and which is found in both courses Hitler and Artaud. I had already paid particular attention to the biography published in 2006 (C'était Antonin Artaud). The fact is that Artaud in 1920 by his parents entrusted to Dr. Edouard Toulouse, one of the main representatives of Mental Hygiene in the first half of the twentieth century, is of paramount importance for the evolution of the same poet. Deeply affected by this form of "puritanism" that represents mental "mental hygiene" Artaud eventually lead to the antipodes. He then made the cantor of madness, the pus and disruption of moods. Madness and disease now appeared to him as "reactive" forces like the same health essence. A complete reversal has been made and could, as such, speak of a Copernican revolution of mental illness. It is the healthy man and the doctor who now embody human wanderings and monstrosities. - Hitler, as for him, will have eliminated from the globe these beings "degenerate", which are in his eyes as parasites and harmful microbes.

JJG. - I was a little surprised by the title you give to the conclusion of this book : "Politics and psychiatry: the question of power." It is true that beyond the fate of Antonin Artaud who is the central motif of your research, constantly playing throughout these pages, a larger question, which exceeds the tormented life of this poet seized by war. A question which is that of the history of psychiatry, the way the war has precipitated the ambitions and strengthened the powers of this complex discipline. Talk about psychiatry 'the entry of experts. " Finally, your book that takes object Artaud, is also, at the same time, a history of psychiatry in the modern age and contemporary, a continuation to our time working on Foucault madness in the classical age. In your concerns and your personal research, is the case of Artaud brought you to dig history and the situation of psychiatry as you do, or is it the interest in psychiatry which, at start and long, leads you to interest yourself to Artaud ?

FDM. - You put your finger on something important. Following the events of May 1968, my interest Artaud was initially structured around an interest in the issue of insanity and (accordingly) psychiatry. It is only after that I was seduced by the character and by her life (quite unusual), by the richness and versatility of his work and the beauty of its language.

Much of my research s 'revolved around psychiatry. The history and thorough study I made (between 1994 and 1996, years that I spend at the CNRS, at Research Centre of the Arts and language) of the electroshock and its action on the writings of the poet had convinced me of the importance of this research for everything concerning Artaud. By attacking me to the question of the influence of the war of 14-18 on the life and work of the latter, I do not expect the thickness and extent of what I would discover.

Coming in the wake of the upheavals that led to the birth of modern psychiatry in the course of the nineteenth century, the period from 1914 to 1919 was particularly eventful. Again, war psychiatrists provides an extraordinary field of experience. And in the post-World War I that the concept of mental hygiene will develop and learn, especially, many technical and practical applications, particularly with Dr. Toulouse (which we should remember Artaud given to it in the early 1920s). We are still in this world, a world where the psychiatric expertise (and to another degree of psychological and sociological expertise) plays a key role in what can be called the "management" of individuals, their switch (throughout their existence) of such and such channels. Now I ask myself : what is an expert in psychiatry ? in psychology ? in "humanity" ?

One can not seriously work on Artaud without further psychiatric question. And we must admit that Artaud is in the history of psychiatry, a piece of choice. That can not be despised. The reference you doing towards Michel Foucault is fundamental. From my research on electroshock, I felt the need to continue this history of madness which stops at the threshold of the twentieth century, in a particular moment as the importance of this discipline is growing in this century decisive in terms of the application of crazy notions of degeneration and mental hygiene. Continue Foucault, this has always been an integral part of every aspect of my research on Artaud. In 1996, I also spot a quote Foucault head of the book on Electroshock. And a quote from the same Foucault highlight of L'Affaire Artaud (Fayard), in 2009.

Because she handles this which are called "mental health", because of the increasing powers of the discipline that has drugs treatments and techniques increasingly "successful" (in what sense ? everything is there !) and who is, increasingly, affiliated to political (13), I consider psychiatry as a science or technical social potentially the most dangerous. Each time, which is hit, reached and transformed by psychiatric treatment, is the core and the very center of what makes the human being : his mind, his psyche, behavior, thoughts, feelings and his emotions.

The issue of the rise of Nazism and the war of 1939-1945, well analyzed by Foucault (which I refer in Antonin Artaud et la guerre) gives a powerful insight into this century and how writers, artists and anonymous individuals have been frozen and "caught" in knots and grids overflowing on all sides.

The extraordinary, and what makes - I think - the strength of this Antonin Artaud in war is this links beam unearthed between the phenomenon of war itself (which doubles exceptional phenomenon of the scale and horror of the own war of 14-18 - this unspeakable butchery), intentions and views of mental hygiene infancy (but which will ramp up ente 1919 and 1939), the destinies of some psychiatrists (Babinski, Roussy, Grasset, Toulouse, etc.) and some of the major writers of this generation : André Breton, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Antonin Artaud ...

The moment finally where - during my research - I found in detail the story of Corporal Hitler, it passed in 1918 by the psychiatric at Pasewalk and his healing or self-healing, was a rather amazing episode. Because I found there - in the story that is jointly that of German psychiatry and the training of gestation or the character of Hitler - disturbing similarities with what I had discovered in the French psychiatric records and La Revue neurologique in years 1914-1919. I had really the feeling that while the background of the will and intentions of individual artists (those beings to whom much is given in terms of creation, of the decision) and politicians (Hitler) loomed brands of particular fates, embraced themselves in complex procedures of collective forces and powers that transcend.

This constant intertwining of singular destinies in a monstrous story (as to laminate the individuals) has emerged gradually. Relentlessly, terrifying and (it must also be said) exciting. The concern, in the end, came to the realization that this story - and all processes "psychiatric and warriors" that arise and are set up around the 1914 war - is not closed and that it continues with equally monstrous. But here, for the explicit would require a new book ...

* Writer and philosopher, Florence de Mèredieu has taught University of Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne). - Main books Histoire matérielle et immatérielle de l’art moderne et contemporain (Bordas-Larousse, 1994-2008) ; C’était Antonin Artaud (Fayard, 2006), a reference biography ; Antonin Artaud dans la guerre. De Verdun à Hitler. L’hygiène mentale (Blusson, 2013).

** Philosopher, Jean-Joseph Goux has taught at Rice University (Houston, USA). - Latest books : Le Trésor perdu de la finance folle (Blusson, 2013), Fractures du temps (Ed Des Femmes, 2014.). And, at D-Fiction Editions, two e-books, La valeur sans image and Téléscripteur William Burroughs (2015).

1. Text taken in Antonin Artaud, les couilles de l’Ange, Paris, Blusson, 1992.
2. Sur l'électrochoc, le cas Antonin Artaud, Paris, Blusson, 1996.
3. I make a pretty accurate description of these letters in the biography published in 2006, C’était Antonin Artaud, Paris, Fayard, pp. 675-723.
4. Gaston Bachelard, that is, too, a survivor of the trenches, evokes in La Philosophie du non, an example of continuous curve without a tangent obtained by a simple geometric construction, the curve of Koch, Swedish mathematician who designed it in 1904. These continuous curves without tangents (or indérivables in algebraic terms) are so fractured (with fracture in the fracture, etc.), they are of infinite length between two points. I had, some years before Mandelbrot speaks of "fractal" to describe this type of curves, tried to show the philosophical interest of this "anomaly" mathematics, in an article published in the journal Critique (No. 272) in 1970 "differentiable and indérivable". This article was very interested Deleuze who had spoken to me in person when he was in full development of a new book that would become Anti-Oedipe  I : he mentions in this book. This notion of indérivable will play a large role in the perception of things Deleuze, especially the notion of a plane of immanence, from which can give an infinite differentiation.
5. Antonin Artaud, Le Théâtre et son double, Idées, Paris, Gallimard, 1968, p. 144.
6. Ibid, p.146.
7. Ibid, p.148.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid, p. 195.
10. Ibid, p.146.
11. Vincent Van Gogh, Antonin Artaud. Ciné-roman Ciné-peinture, Paris, Blusson, 2014.
12. Antonin Artaud, Nouveaux écrits de Rodez, Paris, Gallimard, 1977.
13. So much so that in some dictatorships, psychiatry was and is systematically used or "misused".

Link to "Artaud dans la Guerre"

Link to "Artaud Van Gogh, ciné-roman, ciné-peinture"

Artaud / Van Gogh, ciné-roman, ciné-peinture.
(Blusson, 2014).

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