Maldoror and the Complete Works of the Comte de Lautréamont, translated by Alexis Lykiard / ISBN 9781878972125 / 340-page paperback from Exact Change
Equal parts dark, destructive and brilliant, Maldoror blazed the way for the 20th century's boldest adventures in art, music and literature
André Breton described Maldoror as "the expression of a revelation so complete it seems to exceed human potential." Little is known about its pseudonymous author, aside from his real name (Isidore Ducasse), birth in Uruguay (1846) and early death in Paris (1870). Lautréamont bewildered his contemporaries, but the Surrealists modeled their efforts after his black humor and poetic leaps of logic, exemplified by the oft-quoted line, "As beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella." Maldoror's shocked first publisher refused to bind the sheets of the original edition―and perhaps no better invitation exists to this book, which warns the reader, "Only the few may relish this bitter fruit without danger." This is the only complete annotated collection of Lautréamont's writings available in English, in Alexis Lykiard's superior translation. For this latest edition, Lykiard updates his introduction to include recent scholarship.