While not accepted by the Academy, brief, casual, fragmented text narratives or messages are changing the discourse of how we write. Twentieth century French playwright, poet, and “anti-rhetorician” Antonin Artaud foresaw such a future for writing in his early texts such as “The Nerve Meter,” where, in one section titled “All Writing is Garbage,” he dispels what he sees is a false rhetorical structure in traditional narrative technique. For Artaud, writing is essentially “a kind of incomprehensible stopping place in the mind, right in the middle of everything.” Along with this text and others, I feel that Artaud's attack against traditional narrative and rhetoric is more about seeing how writing is a “kind of [mental] incomprehensible stopping place” that we perform every day in our cellphones and computers. Furthermore, I feel that Artaud's anti or “post literary theory” of writing still maintains a link with earlier classical visions of rhetoric. If Artaud demystifies literature as “garbage,” is he also making a claim about the pervasive importance that literature and writing have always had in our everyday lives?
|Keywords:||Artaud, Rhetoric, Surrealism, Theater of Cruelty|
Professor, Humanities, Capital Community College, Hartford, Connecticut, USA