Antonin Artaud (1896–1948) has long been seen as an icon of failure and madness. Jane Goodall here offers a powerful re-assessment, claiming him as the most extravagant of heretics, in company with ancient gnostics whose speculations emblematise early Christianity heresy. Artaud subscribed to the gnostic idea that the sensible world was created by a demiurge who was 'imperfect, possibly evil and depraved'. His cosmology sets creature against creator, force against form, matter against spirit, pious knowledge against heretical gnosis. The author goes on to assert that theorists like Derrida, Deleuze, and Foucault, who have enlisted Artaud in their own anti-orthodoxies, ignored his gnostic drama and its heresies, due to their own insecurities, but that the real Artaud should be brought to front and centre. It is a compelling read, and is a book which has helped Artaud's new, well-deserved moment in the sun of occultist attention. 

This work was first published by the Clarendon Press, Oxford in 1994. In this new illustrated Scarlet Imprint edition, the text has been lightly revised. This paperback edition is well produced, with a sewn binding.

Cornwall: Scarlet Imprint, 2020. Paperback, 272 pages.  

Artaud and the Gnostic Drama (PB)