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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2003 - 10:53 am:   

I just wanted to say that I read "Maldoror Abroad" this weekend and very much enjoyed it. I haven't read Lautreamont's Maldoror yet; are you using the same character or was your Maldoror your own invention? I absolutely loved the language and writing in the story, even if I didn't quite understand everything that was going on, and it fit very nicely in the whole of Album Zutique #1.
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Maldoror
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2003 - 10:59 am:   

Bishop did not create me. Neither did Lautreamont. I existed before him. I will exist after Bishop is gone. I came up out of the earth and sea, out of piss and shit and unspeakable acts, and those will never go out of fashion, so I will never die.

Maldoror
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2003 - 01:05 pm:   

Oh, okay. Thanks.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2003 - 01:12 pm:   

Jason - thank you! As for the question, as you can see, Maldoror speaks for himself. He also likes to speak through others, though, hence his predilection for possessing writers. Lautreamont is of course the most famous case of such possession, and I suspect that his prolonged and intense exposure to Maldoror may have contributed to his very early expiration, at the age of 24 (found slumped over his piano, the story goes, cause of death unknown).

Intriguingly, he wrote of his own Maldoror that 'it is the beginning of a publication which will only be completed later, after my death.'
I do not think it will be completed by me, though. While possession by Maldoror is exhilarating, it's bad for the health, and on the whole I would rather write under my own steam, and let the critics judge me on my own merits, however small they may be.

I suspect that some of James Havoc's writings bear the cloven stamp of Maldoror's presence. (And where in hell is Havoc now? Has anyone seen him lately?)

On a bit of a tangent, one reviewer thought he found 'nods to HP Lovecraft and Ishmael Reed' in Maldoror Abroad, by which I presume he was referring to the mention of winged octopi, and the conga line scene, which may have put him in mind of Reed's novel Mumbo Jumbo. The winged octopi are in fact an image from the original Maldoror. I have always wondered if Lovecraft read it. The conga line scene is a riff off of Vachel Lindsay's poem The Congo ('Mumbo Jumbo will hoodoo you!); I haven't read any Ishmael Reed, though I now intend to get my hands on Mumbo Jumbo, which looks damn good. The reviewer did, though, say that I employ decadent and purple prose to no particular end, in which he is absolutely correct, in two senses: the story of Maldoror has no purpose, save to replicate itself, and there is no end to it.

On a tangent to the tangent: Reed wrote a poem called beware: do not read this poem. Lautreamont also cautioned readers against reading Maldoror. Reed's poem can be found here:
http://www.math.buffalo.edu/~sww/reed/reed_ishmael_poetry.html

But at any rate, if you enjoyed my modest contribution to Maldoror literature, I would humbly urge you to read Lautreamont. He's a thousand times more evil than me.
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GabrielM
Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 10:02 am:   

>>I have always wondered if Lovecraft read it.


Doesn't seem likely. If Lovecraft had read him it's likely he would have seen fit to mention him in his comprehensive SUPERNATURAL HORROR IN LITERATURE essay. (By comparison, Lovecraft does mention other French writers who were maybe not technically horror writers but could be viewed as kindred spirits, such as Baudelaire). I also don't think MALDOROR became all that well known in the US until the '40s with the Wernham translation. There's an earlier UK translation from the twenties but it was privately printed in a limited edition by the Casanova Society (with illustrations by Redon) and would have been hard to come by. (Still is.) I don't recall whether Lovecraft knew enough French to have read the book in the original. But I don't by any means pretend to expertise in Lovecraft or Maldoror, so maybe someone else can shed more light.

I'm a great admirer of the original MALDOROR and did also enjoy your story in AZ#1, KJ.

As for James Havoc -- are we talking about the fellow who wrote Satanskin? The last I have is a book called Butchershop in the Sky from a few years ago. I don't know anything about him or his background other than what it says in the book, so if you have any other info about him I'd be curious to know.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 11:49 am:   

I hadn't come across Maldoror before reading Maldoror Abroad. However, I did enjoy the story, so I wanted to read Lautreamont's work. I'm glad I did, as I did enjoy that. However, it does seem like a mind-altering work, you're not quite the same after reading it.

I'm struck by an image of Maldoror as a virus. "Maldoror has no purpose, save to replicate itself." It slowly spreads to each new reader, warping his or her mind, and then infects new hosts.
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KJ
Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 12:45 pm:   

Gabriel - glad you enjoyed the story. I loved the orginal Maldoror so much, I got overtaken by the urge to write some fanfic.

I suppose it isn't suprising that two people could independently think of the image of a winged octopus critter. (Either that, or they both had visions of elder horrors that exist outside human thought.)

I also have Butchershop in the Sky; it's one of my favourite books. Though I can only read it in small doses, I think there's some bloody (literally) incredible writing in it. Where the foreword says that Havoc is missing, feared dead, I thought it was a joke - but I haven't been able to find any new work from him. I'm curious about him, too.
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KJ
Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 01:05 pm:   

Robert - I'm really glad that my story got you on to Lautreamont. I think you're right, that it is a mind-altering work. How and why, I don't know; perhaps because it communicates the joy of acts which normal society designates as criminal or perverse, it gets through to places deep down in the psyche - the parts of us beneath the skin of civilisation.

I tried writing a novel about the Maldoror virus, but couldn't sustain it. I got to 40,000 words, but it was a mess. In the end I just took my favourite parts out, and that was what ended up in Album Zutique. The novel is a project I keep ticking over in the back of my mind, though.
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GabrielM
Posted on Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - 03:08 pm:   

>>I also have Butchershop in the Sky; it's one of my favourite books.


Havoc is like a weird mixture of De Sade, Clark Ashton Smith and the lyric sheet from some particularly eloquent death metal band. (I can't really name any death metal bands, otherwise I'd insert one.)

I can't say I love his stuff. A little of it goes a long way, but he's one of those people whose work I'd always buy just to see what the heck they're doing. At a minimum it's always interesting. I do love the photo on the cover of Butchershop though.
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Stepan Chapman
Posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2003 - 08:53 pm:   

Hey there, KJ. It was great hanging out with you at WFC.

Kia's got The Etched City right now, but I had another look at "Maldoror Abroad". Wow. What a dead-on imitation. Almost impossible to do that style in English, but you nailed it.

I'm also looking forward to "We the Enclosed". Just the title cracks me up.

Got a request. Please e-mail me at stepanchapman@hotmail.com and grant me the boon of your street address. I got a cute little pamphlet of my drawings that I want to mail to you.
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Neddal
Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 03:52 am:   

Hi all. I've not read the story yet, but am looking forward to checking it out in AZ. I thought this may be of interest:
link/{http://bak.spc.org/maldoror/}

and of course there are several bands named
Maldoror
link/{http://digilander.libero.it/maldoror/}

and one involving Mike Patton (Faith No More/Tomahawk)
link/{http://www.ipecac.com/maldoror.php}

cheers,
-Neddal
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - 08:04 am:   

I'm reluctant to check out bands with Maldoror in their names. I just think there's no way they can live up to the name. Unless they can have the same sort of mind altering effect, which seems really unlikely.

But the film, while having no budget, does intrigue me.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2003 - 06:16 pm:   

Stepan -

I had a ball at WFC - and thank you very kindly re Maldoror Abroad. I think of it as a fanfic :-) I wrote it when I was sick, living on Sudafed and not sleeping, and I've never been able to do that style again in a sustained way. Maybe it'll return next time I have bad sinusitis.

Will email you - I'd love to see your drawings - the boon would be all on your part.

Kirsten
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 02:10 am:   

Neddal -

I'd be quite intrigued to see that film. Maybe I could contact art-house cinemas here and ask them if they'd consider obtaining it.

For 'Maldoror' music, I think of performers like Tom Waits and Nick Cave - dark, perverse, but carnivalesque, and ugly and beautiful at the same time.

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Neddal
Posted on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 03:59 am:   

KJ - I bet if you contacted the people that made the film directly they'd be interested in working with you in setting up a showing. especially if you did it in conjunction w/a reading or something to that effect.

music: I got this in my inbox this morning:
fm: SCRATCH EMAIL LIST
http://www.scratchrecords.com
---------
ERIK FRIEDLANDER-Maldoror CD (Brassland/BND05) $18.99
“(A) unique cellist whose body of work both blurs and defies genre borders. (This) is (his) solo debut and consists of ten improvisations recorded at Berlin’s Teldex Studios. It was inspired by the poems of early French surrealist Lautreamont, who wrote a collection named Maldoror and Poems.” Ennio Morricone, Astor Piazzola, Godspeed You Black Emperor, John Coltrane, John Zorn, are also namechecked. With 12 page booklet feat the poems that inspired the album. UPC:6 32662 55552 1
----------


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GabrielM
Posted on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 08:50 am:   

Friedlander is an excellent jazz cellist. He's played with Dave Douglas and Joe Lovano and is part of the whole circle of downtown NY musicians that congregate around John Zorn and play at places like Tonic.

I've been waiting for the MALDOROR CD, as it was supposed to come out this week I think. He has a site about it here:

http://www.erikfriedlander.com/
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, November 14, 2003 - 09:46 am:   

Kirsten - I definitely agree on the music. Most of the Maldoror named bands I've come across are gothic, black metal or Patton's one is more experimental. But not quite what I imagine. Waits would be much closer, since the beauty and ugliness are needed at the same time.

I did enjoy the samples of that cellist.

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