By Dr Paul Fearne
Key Themes: Mental Health, Schizophrenia, Poetry
A Schizophrenic on Artaud is a poetic exploration of the 20th century French writer Antonin Artaud. Artaud suffered from schizophrenia throughout his life, but nevertheless managed to produce a body of work that has since entered the canon of French letters. As a work produced by someone who also suffers from schizophrenia (and, like Artaud, also has a predilection for literature), Dr Paul Fearne’s book examines schizophrenia itself through Artaud’s writing. Dr Fearne’s academic training brings to his book a broad grounding in French literature, but also literature from many other countries and points in history. Part poetic reflection, part literary exploration, A Schizophrenic on Artaud presents a unique relationship between two sufferers of this mental illness.
About the Author
Dr Paul Fearne was born in 1975, and has suffered from schizophrenia since 1998. He has used his insight into his condition to complete a PhD on schizophrenia at LaTrobe University, Melbourne. Dr Fearne’s first book, Diary of a Schizophrenic (published by Chipmunkapublishing), details his first psychotic episode. It was launched at the Melbourne Writers Festival in 2010. Subsequent exposure and interviews on Australian national radio allowed Dr Fearne to share his experiences with a wider audience, hopefully helping other with their journeys through mental illness. He currently volunteers for Mind Australia helping sufferers toward their own personal recoveries.
Apollinaire was the ghost who showed what really happens when rising is like the meeting of two streams at the mouth of the blue-green. The octets which carry our yearning are also the music of desire as they wash Artaud from our grasp, and gather what is left of our sighing, and scatter them to the deep beyond – a place that knows only trouble, so that no one else must know this trouble.
We return to Anais Nin, who loved Artaud, but from the distance that never settles itself. This distance is the safety, but it is also the treasure, which only once in winter’s song is close enough to forge new paths and close old doors. The paths I speak of here are Artaud’s paths as he travels with us still. They are what are truly with us, when the lamp that is our temperament is aghast with the shock of what Artaud could never deny. I will hold Artaud as he sleeps, so that his tiredness turns to dreaded bliss, and his lightness turns to the clouds which are his home.
There is nothing like what is left of Artaud when we find his travelling embedded in our hearts as if it always was. I cannot let go of Artaud, because his footfalls are left only in the silk which has no name to leave to their children. Can we know Artaud in this breath of togetherness? Only because he wants us to, and only because he cannot sight what is most obvious is his living – and that is hope.
There is something more which Modigliani is wont to say in times which are the times of confronting for Artaud. And that is we must continue, so that continuing is the sand that slips through our fingers, and knows new tests that are like the water that drips from this soul to the next. Can we find ourselves when there is nothing left to find? Only because Artaud has found himself can we really be the ones who succeed in this endeavour. Artaud is the lightning which fires as it breaks through the trees. Artaud is the voyage, and we are his children.
This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 17 November, 2011.