Tag Archives: Count de Lautreamont


“Maldoror and His Smile” by Lord Orlando

Balladeer’s Blog has done a comprehensive examination of The Songs of Maldoror, often referred to as just Maldoror. The original 1868 French language work by the self-designated Count de Lautreamont (real name Isidore Ducasse) was in verse form, which is great for poetry geeks like me but if you prefer prose there are plenty of prose translations available. 

This work of surreal horror was so far ahead of its time that the author himself, in one of the few existing copies of his correspondence, expressed fears that he might be jailed or thrown into an insane asylum and requested that the publisher literally “stop the presses.” Just 88 copies of the book were completed in that initial run and for a few decades The Songs of Maldoror languished in obscurity.  

By the 1890s those few copies of Maldoror had been circulating among the more adventurous literati of the time period and the work began to be hailed as a forgotten masterpiece by Maeterlink, Bloy, Huysmans and de Gourmont. This new acclaim ultimately resulted in a new run of copies – this time in the thousands instead of dozens like the first run. This also accounts for why some reviewers mistakenly refer to The Songs of Maldoror as an 1890s work, despite its original publication date of 1868. Continue reading


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Maldoror 2I am always glad to interact with readers of Balladeer’s Blog! Many of you have been asking for a guide to my examination of the surreal horrors in The Songs of Maldoror. Readers asked for it to be the same format I used for the Navajo epic myth about the war god Nayanazgeni battling the dark gods called the Anaye. 


This work by the author Isidore Ducasse aka the Count de Lautreamont was nearly a century ahead of its time. This neglected masterpiece of surreal horror was so envelope-pushing that Ducasse had the publisher stop printing copies after just eighty-eight were made. He feared that the subject matter in the book might cause him to be arrested or committed to an insane asylum.

Opening Stanzas – An introduction to Maldoror, the book’s mysterious protagonist. Maldoror is a supernatural being who considers God his archenemy & Satan a rival and who regards humans as his prey. Modern readers will recognize in this character elements of Freddy Krueger, Aleister Crowley, Coffin Joe, Heath Ledger’s Joker and the vampire Lestat. Click HERE Continue reading


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Balladeer’s Blog concludes its examination of the macabre 1868 French language work The Songs of Maldoror. (“Mal d’Auror”, meaning Evil’s Dawn or The Dawn of Evil.)


The best cover depiction of the message of this final Stanza

The best cover depiction of  Maldoror’s message.

Today it ends. A moral, ontological and supernatural battle that has raged since the dawn of creation comes to a close in the heart of Paris.

God – be he Creator or Demiurge, compassionate deity or power-crazed sadist – meets for the last time in combat with Maldoror.

When this day is over one of these two beings will never again walk the Earth. Continue reading


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Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the macabre 1868 French language work The Songs of Maldoror. This is the NEXT TO LAST installment.


"Maldoror and His Smile" by Lord Orlando

“Maldoror and His Smile” by Lord Orlando

God has sent down an Archangel from Heaven to try to protect sixteen year old Mervyn from Maldoror’s sinister designs on him. The Archangel has assumed the form of a hermit crab in order to sneak into France unobserved by Maldoror. However, our supernatural main character has sensed the Archangel’s arrival anyway and stands along the shore where the being is trying to pass itself off as a mere hermit crab.

With a club in hand instead of one of his usual knives Maldoror watches the disguised Archangel pause on a reef before heading to shore. The figure sent from Heaven is fearful regarding its impending confrontation with Maldoror, whom the Angelic Armies concede to be a greater threat than Satan himself. For his part our vile protagonist observes that the Archangel is not very comfortable in the terrestrial sphere and plans to make quick work of him, planning to thus provoke God into engaging him in personal combat once again.   

The Archangel realizes it has been spotted and transforms from a crab into its full angelic form: Mario, the one-time Angel of the Sea who was in love with Maldoror. Way back in The Mysterious Riders this relationship was dealt with but Maldoror never revealed what happened to Mario, he simply vanished from the narrative. Now we learn why – Mario repented and returned to God, which must have been a particularly potent blow to Maldoror, which is why his ego would not permit him to recount that part of the tale. Now elevated to Archangel status Mario announces that God has given him a portion of his own power to make up for his inexperience in his new incarnation and to help him subdue our narrator.  Continue reading


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Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the macabre 1868 French language work The Songs of Maldoror.


Maldoror 6 6Maldoror is in his lair in Paris, observing himself in a mirror. He recalls how he used to have a third eye in the center of his forehead but ages ago a female cat pounced on him and chewed it out. This was done as revenge on Maldoror for the way he boiled the cat’s litter of kittens to death in a pot full of alcohol. (What kind of wine goes with cat meat?)

Maldoror then ponders the rest of his heavily scarred face and body, reflecting on the damage he and God have inflicted on each other in their long war against each other. In his usual insane way the supernatural being considers himself as “beautiful” as congenital birth defects are beautiful; as “beautiful” as genitals ravaged by venereal disease. Continue reading


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Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the macabre 1868 French language work The Songs of Maldoror.


Maldoror and Mervyn, drawn by Monsieur Le Six.

Maldoror and Mervyn, drawn by Monsieur Le Six.

I’ve decided the Stanzas of this final Canto don’t merit individual titles. Too little happens in each as the story of Maldoror preying on the 16 year old youth named Mervyn proceeds incrementally.

The previous episode ended with Maldoror tracking Mervyn to his home on the Rue Lafayette. The young man now flees inside, fearful of the unknown presence he felt following him through the gaslit streets of Paris (left deserted after dark by Maldoror’s ongoing reign of terror). Continue reading


Filed under Maldoror


Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the macabre 1868 French language work The Songs of Maldoror.


Did I mention that I think Death-Stalker would make a good Maldoror?

Did I mention that I think Death-Stalker would make a good Maldoror?

This 6th and final Canto of The Songs of Maldoror is entirely different from all the previous Cantos. Instead of being self-contained episodes that jump around to different periods in the long life of the supernatural main character these closing Stanzas form an extended narrative set entirely in late 1860s Paris.

The story details Maldoror’s efforts to seduce a 16 year old youth named Mervyn into abandoning his family and becoming his latest lover and traveling companion as well as the attempts by Mervyn’s family and the forces of God to save the young man. This sudden change of approach as well as the author Isidore Ducasse’s obsession with precise movements through the streets of Paris in this section has spawned a conspiracy theory of sorts among some circles of Maldoror readers.

For those readers Ducasse is using Maldoror as a fictional stand-in for himself as he relates a real-life seduction and murder of a young man at his own hands. In the eyes of those readers these final Stanzas even include coded directions to the location in Paris where Ducasse supposedly hid the body.  Continue reading


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