Parts one through six consist of fourteen, sixteen, five, eight, seven and ten chapters, respectively. With some exceptions, most chapters consist of a single, lengthy paragraph. Depending on the context of narrative voice in a given place, the first-person narrator may be taken to be Maldoror himself, or sometimes not. The confusion between narrator and character may also suggest an unreliable narrator.
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Shelves: bitchin If you have been following my reviews for any length of time you will be aware that there are many things of which I am afraid. Demonic possession! Yet it is increasingly the shark that haunts my mind like he haunts the sea, silently slicing through the darkness until he is upon me, intent on ripping out my throat! He is a ghoul, shaped like a knife-blade. He is swift and agile madness, with the skin of an elephant and teeth like the sharpest shards of glass.
How If you have been following my reviews for any length of time you will be aware that there are many things of which I am afraid. How feeble, how ungainly man seems when compared to this creature, how unlike a God. Throughout, Maldoror rails against human weakness of character, hypocrisy, hunger for fame and money, etc. My favourite example of this is when he breeds a pit of vicious lice, which he then lets loose upon the unsuspecting public.
Moreover, he openly enjoys these activities, so that the book reads like an ode to cruelty and sadism. Children, one assumes because they are representative of innocence and purity, are paid special attention, with Maldoror extolling the pleasures of abusing and then freeing them, so that one is seen as both their torturer and their saviour. He also gleefully admits to wanting to slice off their rosy cheeks with a razor.
The reason I find Les Chants entertaining, rather than unbearable, is that they are, for the most part, [intentionally] over-the-top, bizarre and vaudeville; and they feature a main character so thoroughly dastardly, such that even the nastiest bits are absurd or almost farcical. The best example of this is when Maldoror is watching a ship sink and delights in the forthcoming annihilation of the crew and passengers.
At this stage, the story is engaging, but not necessarily funny. It is when the hero decides to shoot a survivor as he swims towards the shore that the scene is taken into the realm of comedy [although you may argue that what it provokes is the uncomfortable laughter of disbelief]. Of course, for anyone who wants to offend, who wants to position themselves as anti-establishment, religion is an obvious, necessary target.
Moreover, there is one quite chilling scene in which he endeavors to tempt a young boy into murdering someone who has wronged him. Yet I prefer not to think of Maldoror as the Devil, as something so easy to digest. To label him thus is almost a kind of comfort. We may not like the Devil, but we do understand him. I am riddled with lice.
Hogs, when they look at me, vomit. My skin is encrusted with the scabs and scales of leprosy, and covered with yellow pus. Mind one of them does not escape and come and scratch the inside of your ear with its mouth; for it would then be able to enter your brain.
He does, however, identify with outcasts, with prostitutes [with whom he claims to have made a pact to ruin families] and hermaphrodites.
In any case, what most struck me while I read Les Chants is that Maldoror is essentially a kind of Mr. Hyde, he is the bad in every one of us, the dark side. Indeed, it is said in the text that evil thoughts exist in all men.
Los Cantos de Maldoror
Los cantos de Maldoror. Con todo, no soy un criminal. Pero dejemos esto. No hace mucho tiempo que he vuelto a ver el mar y que he puesto los pies sobre los puentes de los barcos, y mis recuerdos son tan vivos como si lo hubiera dejado ayer.
Canti di Maldoror
Les Chants de Maldoror
Los cantos de Maldoror