Tag Archives: Maldoror

MALDOROR THIRTEEN: THE GREAT TOAD ANGEL

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

THE GREAT TOAD-ANGEL 

Maldoror 13This stanza opens up with the supernatural being Maldoror contemplating the worms he pulls from the swollen belly of a dead dog. Slicing the worms into small bits he philosophizes on how human beings should learn a lesson about their own mortality from the state of such dead, worm-riddled bodies. 

Night is falling. In the distance he spies a horse-sized toad with white wings flying down from the sky and landing on the road he is traveling. As the two draw nearer to each other Maldoror senses something familiar about the creature and reflects that its face is “as beautiful as suicide”. He resents the being over how beautiful it looks even in its massive ugliness and the halo over the toad’s head tells him it has come from Heaven and his archrival God.  Continue reading

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MALDOROR 12: THE PHILOSOPHICAL GRAVEDIGGER

Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the macabre 1868 French language work The Songs of Maldoror. NOTE: As always, the Maldoror blog posts are not for the squeamish. 

THE PHILOSOPHICAL GRAVEDIGGER

Maldoror gravediggerThe supernatural being Maldoror, here referring to himself as “He who knows not how to weep”, found himself in Norway in his wanderings. While in the Faroe Islands he observed men who hunt for the nests of sea birds in mountain crevices hundreds of feet deep. He mused that if he was in charge of such an expedition he would have knicked the strong rope the mountain climbers use, weakening it so he could enjoy watching at least one of them plummet to a bone-shattering death far below.  

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This image of a human body fatally falling into a massive hole in the earth put him in mind of freshly-dug graves. Thus inspired, Maldoror indulged in a nocturnal exploration of the area’s graveyards. In one in particular he passed a band of necrophiliacs violating beautiful corpses and stopped to chat with a nearby gravedigger.

With typical vanity Maldoror told the gravedigger to consider himself lucky to be interacting with him. He (Maldoror) fancied himself a figurative “great whale” momentarily raising his head above the waters of the Sea of Death in which he made his home, granting a mere mortal like the gravedigger the privilege of seeing him in his dread majesty.    Continue reading

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MALDOROR 11: DISTANT SCREAMS OF MOST POIGNANT AGONY

Balladeer’s Blog resumes its examination of the macabre 1868 French language work The Songs of Maldoror. NOT FOR THE EASILY FRIGHTENED.

DISTANT SCREAMS OF MOST POIGNANT AGONY

Maldoror 11For a change of pace we readers are not immersed entirely in a first person narration by Maldoror himself. This section begins with a mother, father and their beloved child Edward spending a quiet evening together. The parents are advanced in age and did not have Edward until very late in life after years of longing for a child of their own. 

The happy trio catch a glimpse of the supernatural being Maldoror peering in at them through a window. Though they think they succeed at shooing him away from their home little Edward cannot get the hideous man out of his mind. The family’s conversation is periodically and repeatedly punctuated by what the author describes as “distant prolonged screams of the most poignant agony.”  Continue reading

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MALDOROR 8: AN INSATIABLE THIRST FOR THE INFINITE

Balladeer’s Blog continues its poem by poem examination of the 1868 French language work The Songs of Maldoror by Isidore Ducasse, the self-titled Count de Lautreamont.

AN INSATIABLE THIRST FOR THE INFINITE

Maldoror 8This section begins with Maldoror wandering through the darkness of the night, at times nostalgically recalling the terror and dread with which he used to regard the sounds and distant impressions of the overnight hours. But that was when he was merely a human child and his mother would try to calm him as he huddled beneath his blankets listening fearfully to the savage or vaguely sinister sounds made by the beasts who roam the night.

She would explain away the horror of the distant noises by assuring him that the beasts meant no harm, but were instead filled with an insatiable thirst for the infinite, the same thirst she sensed in the son she was trying to comfort.

Now, fully grown and more than human, Maldoror prowls the night as one of the beasts making noises that terrify others in their beds. Supreme in his element our narrator blissfully describes some of the nightly tableaus that catch his attention. Continue reading

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MALDOROR: A NEGLECTED MASTERPIECE OF SURREAL HORROR

“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: A NEGLECTED MASTERPIECE OF SURREAL HORROR

“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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SONGS OF MALDOROR: CANTO SIX GUIDE

This completes Balladeer’s Blog’s chapter guide to my examination of Isidore Ducasse’s 1868 work of surreal horror The Songs of Maldoror.

SIXTH CANTO

Maldoror and Mervyn by Monsieur Le Six

Maldoror and Mervyn, drawn by Monsieur Le Six.

Sixth Canto, Stanza 1: The author Isidore Ducasse predicts that his work The Songs of Maldoror will revolutionize literature and foresees a career for himself as a major force in the creative arts. Unfortunately his death in 1870 at the age of 24 prevented that from happening. CLICK HERE 

Sixth Canto, Stanza 2: After terrorizing Madrid, Saint Petersburg and Peking through a series of brutal murders, Maldoror begins subjecting Paris to similar treatment. CLICK HERE Continue reading

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SONGS OF MALDOROR: CANTO FIVE GUIDE

Back to Balladeer’s Blog’s chapter guide to my examination of Isidore Ducasse’s 1868 work of surreal horror The Songs of Maldoror.

FIFTH CANTO

Maldoror 5 7 tarantulaFifth Canto, Stanza 1: BETWEEN YOUR LITERATURE AND MINE – Maldoror goes meta, addressing the reader directly for daring to condemn him while still continuing to read about his nightmarish activities. He recommends a recipe for preparing the flesh of one’s mother after killing her, and otherwise seems to presage many modern-day serial killers. CLICK HERE 

Fifth Canto, Stanza 2: FOUR SOULS ERASED FROM THE BOOK OF LIFE – Our vile main character interacts with a sorceress, the two brothers she seduced then transformed into monsters and the hybrid children she had with those brothers. CLICK HERE  Continue reading

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SONGS OF MALDOROR: CANTO FOUR GUIDE

Back to Balladeer’s Blog’s chapter guide to my examination of Isidore Ducasse’s 1868 work of surreal horror The Songs of Maldoror.

FOURTH CANTO

Maldoror 4 1 denderaFourth Canto, Stanza 1: PRELUDE TO A PRIVATE ARMAGEDDON – At Dendera in Egypt Maldoror recalls his past visits to the city and foresees a future day when he will battle all of the Earth’s armies in that same location. CLICK HERE 

Fourth Canto, Stanza 2: THE MARRIAGE OF PROVERBS AND METAPHORS – Maldoror becomes lost in the Valley of Unreality where literal reality and metaphorical reality overlap. All that plus esoteric reflections on ancient meditation practices intended to unleash one’s astral body. CLICK HERE 

Fourth Canto, Stanza 3: THE TORMENTED MAN – While watching a man getting tortured by his own wife and mother Maldoror reflects on various atrocities of his own. CLICK HERE Continue reading

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SONGS OF MALDOROR: CANTO THREE GUIDE

Back to Balladeer’s Blog’s chapter guide to my examination of Isidore Ducasse’s 1868 work of surreal horror The Songs of Maldoror.

THIRD CANTO

Maldoror 13Third Canto, Stanza 1: THE MYSTERIOUS RIDERS – The enigmatic monster Maldoror and his lover Mario (another supernatural being) terrorize humanity, mate in space and encounter unspeakable creatures beneath the sea. CLICK HERE 

Third Canto, Stanza 2: VICTIMS BOTH LIVING AND DEAD – Possibly the most disturbing and horrific Stanza in The Songs of Maldoror. Read it at your own risk to witness our vile protagonist at his depraved worst. CLICK HERE 

Third Canto, Stanza 3: THE TIGER-HEADED DRAGON – The notorious Wandering Jew of ancient legend is an eye-witness as Maldoror does battle with a winged tiger/ dragon hybrid beast, with humanity set up to be the losers no matter which abomination wins. CLICK HERE Continue reading

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