A revolutionary figure in the literary avant-garde of his time, Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) is now seen to be central to the development of post- modernism.
I myself spent nine years in an insane asylum and I never had the obsession of suicide, but I know that each conversation with a psychiatrist, every morning at the time of his visit, made me want to hang myself, realizing that I would not be able to cut his throat.
This essay seeks to situate the influence of Antonin Artaud on the work of the American artist Nancy Spero within the realm of linguistic dislocation, drawing on her experiences in Paris during the period 1959-64. The problematic nature of language, translation and nationality in the literature surrounding her work is highlighted, and an alternative methodology is proposed: drawing on the work of Julia Kristeva and particularly on that of Jacques Derrida,
the essay asks whether Spero’s quotation of Artaud can be seen as effective through the medium of difference rather than identification.