A first translation from French by Clayton Eshleman
To M. Gilbert Lély
I did indeed receive your letter urging me to send you
attachment (if that), selfish friendship, esteem, provisional consideration, external sympathy,
but love, in
as for love in Baudelaire, it reaches its highest expression in
André Breton alone remains, in his life as in his acts, faithful to this kind of decantating, from a pure and detached attraction, from life into more than life.
I mean: in his thinking, but who is
Love is a unique feeling, so unique that
What I think about it, apart from this, is for me:
for me alone, and I forbid anyone to talk about it, talking strictly to myself, to speak of it at
Besides I now believe that this feeling is called hate, and, for me, is called
An old fetid smell of
I thought a great deal about love in
and chaste, so chaste as to be dangerous.
For one can only love one’s creations.
The woman who loves inclines to mo
has pushed toward him,
to feel itself, above all, descended from him.
One cannot evade, in
LIKE THE VIRGIN FACING GOD!
In loveThere is nothing more exhaustible than
is the idea of service. And one does
not indefinitely serve the same
Besides, it seems to me a fundamental indiscretion that one can ask me this question, that this question can be asked.
Love is that untouchable thing of which one only speaks with a sealed mouth, through how many strata of earth?
Love is a forgotten feeling. And that’s all.
--No. Man’s passional body no longer delights inThis decantation has to be brought about, on our old bodies gone to war against the invisible and the uncreated (as if that had ever existed : the uncreated) – with our bodies kept whole in the dungeons of the uncreated, in this same chaos of the uncreated where life rekindles its wars, when there is no more to eat or to drink, and when to drink is the same as to eat.
the King of Thulé! –Too many lovers have cuckolded
me for me to believe that this feeling still exists. And I am not saying
outside its place, outside its old dwelling-place, at Madam Poetry’s; for I
forbid poetry to still harbor the
unfaithful, there is no life-long
faithful, short of decanting life. From life to more than life. And this is no
longer poetry, but a kind of ghastly autopsy.
Where has my lover gone? I would then say to the King of Thulé.
And do you know what the King of Thulé answered me before dawn, when his legend was still being established, (but where did time go farther than its own legend taking shape?)
And it’s now that he answered me.
Now, this very last night, spent in my chimney hole; --and all that was left to me of love was a black, indescribable army, that unavowable army of succubi and incubi armed with their sole hatred for what remains in me of an unused feeling :
The feeling of love exhausted before it could be born, this machine of magnetized rust between the blood and the shit of being, called
“My lover is not up to yours, and you will surrender yours to me at once!” responded the King of Thulé.
Thus is hell born.
You wanted to devote this special issue of Variétés to eroticism. Then, you changed it to the idea of love.
It is in despair of love that all the old monkeys of hate, described in the Ramayana, invented the obtuse machine, the old box of caca humus, called sex, anus,
The dyke’s sloping tongue, which, in the garrets of the mind, wriggles over that :
magma desire : Ca-Ca.
And let breath, from Ca to Ca, end up strangling the Virgin.
After that, we’ll see.
P.S. –Besides, the old box of caca humus will return when man has stopped being that low ferret scratching at sex as if to force papa’s secret out from his very mama mouth,And when papa-mama himself will have given up his seat to man, without hieroglyph and secret keyboard.
But it will take a lot of blood to cleanse the shit-box, awash, not with shit, but with god-love.
It’s the old haggler from Sinai who spread love-essence about;
But why didn’t it occur to anyone that to fiddle with the essences
(infinitesimals of principle, principles, embryos, magma larvae)
was to let in all the microbes
that are in the pruritus of the mind :
sows, cinders of life.
31 December 1946
[The foregoing is translated from Artaud's Oeuvres Completes, volume XIV, Gallimard,
1978. The translator also thanks Mark Polizzotti for some helpful translation