Tag Archives: Maldoror

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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MALDOROR: THE FINALE

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.)

CANTO SIX: STANZA TEN

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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MALDOROR 6:8 AND 6:9

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

CANTO SIX: STANZA EIGHT

"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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