This chapter discusses Antonin Artaud’s idea of modern hieroglyphics. For Artaud, the object of departure of the whole magical and philosophical system of ancient Egypt, on which he bases his conception of a new, hieroglyphic theater of cruelty, was that niche in which the pharaoh’s corpse rested, just as the very condition for this entire system was the corpse itself. The global system of waste products to which Artaud succumbed was for him a vast hieroglyphic system in which he was the cornerstone corpse whose antechamber was the asylum. Artaud’s own late poetry is inscribed within a syllabic sign system he identifies as hieroglyphics. He introduced a language of sheer stammer, a language of invented words, which was actually recognizable only as the product of glossolalia.
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