The Theater and Its Double

Antonin Artaud

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The Theater and Its Double by Antonin Artaud / ISBN 9780802150301 / 159-page paperback from Grove Press / new copy discounted due to light shelf wear


A collection of manifestos originally published in 1938, The Theater and Its Double is the fullest statement of the ideas of Antonin Artaud. “We cannot go on prostituting the idea of the theater, the only value of which is in its excruciating, magical relation to reality and danger,” he wrote. He fought vigorously against an encroaching conventionalism he found anathema to the very concept of theater. He sought to use theater to transcend writing, “to break through the language in order to touch life.”

“The Theater and Its Double is far away the most important thing that has been written about the theater in the twentieth century. . . . It should be read again and again. . . . Artaud oozed magical desires. He was the metaphysician of the theater.” –Jean-Louis Barrault

“The course of all recent serious theater in Western Europe and the Americas can be said to divide into two periods—before Artaud and after Artaud. No one who works in the theater now is untouched by the impact of Artaud’s specific ideas. . . . Artaud changed the understanding of what was serious, what was worth doing. . . . Artaud’s thought is organically part of his singular, haunted, impotent, savagely intelligent consciousness. Artaud is one of the great, daring mapmakers of consciousness in extremis.” –Suasan Sontag

“The credo of one of France’s foremost avant-garde theatrical thinkers is brought into focus in this excellent translation. Highly recommended.” –Library Journal

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