Antonin Artaud, Made in USA

Speaker: Olivier Penot-Lacassagne


Event Description

Antonin Artaud (1896-1948), the world-famous author of The Theater and Its Double and To Have Done with the Judgment of God, became after his death the subject of passionate theoretical, critical, and aesthetic debates in France. This French enthusiastic reception was replicated in the United States in the 1950s, when certain texts by Artaud were translated and began to circulate. While the observation that there is an “Artaud made in France” just as there is an “Artaud made in USA” might seem trite, it is far from obvious. Beyond the usual transfers and cultural crossings between the two contexts, in the case of Artaud the two receptions, French and American, seem to be constructed autonomously. In the United States, Artaud became synonymous with dissidence, often associated with other similar instances of dissent. While in France Artaud’s voice is considered to be unique in its paroxysmal intensity, in the United States it merges with other marginal and revolutionary voices. This talk will examine precisely how this American reception was constructed after the 1950s.


Olivier Penot-Lacassagne, Maître de conférences HDR at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University (France). He is a specialist in the work of Antonin Artaud, the avant-garde, counterculture, and ecocriticism. He has published several books, including (In)actualité du surréalisme 1940-2020 (dir., 2022); Antonin Artaud, l’Incandescent perpétuel. Roman critique (2022); Ruptures écocritiques, à l’avant-garde (dir., 2022); Beat Generation. L’inservitude volontaire ( (dir., 2018); Poésie & Performance, co-dir. with G. Théval (2018); Back to Baudrillard (dir., 2015) ; Contre-cultures ! (2013); Engagements et déchirements. Les intellectuels et la guerre d’Algérie, co-written with C. Brun (2012).

Antonin Artaud