Isou, Isidore 1928(?)-

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Isou, Isidore 1928(?)-


PERSONAL:

Born Jean-Isidore Goldstein, 1928 (some sources say 1925), in Botosani, Romania.

ADDRESSES:

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Al Dante Press, 10 rue Nicolas Appert, 75011 Paris, France.

CAREER:

Author. Director of film Traité de bave et d'éternité, 1950; provided voiceover for film Hurlements en faveur de Sade, 1952.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Best Avant Garde film, Cannes Film Festival, 1952, for Traité de bave et d'éternité,

WRITINGS:


L'Agrégation d'un Nom et d'un Messie, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1947.

Introduction à une Nouvelle Poésie et à Une Nouvelle Musique, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1947.

La Mécanique des Femmes, 1949.

(And director) Traité de Bave et d'Éternité, (screenplay; first released in France), released in the United States as Venom and Eternity, 1950.

Saint Ghetto des Prêts: Grimoire, 1950.

Front de la Jeunesse, 1950.

Les Journaux des Dieux, Aux Escaliers de Lausanne (Paris, France), 1950.

Fondements pour la Transformation Intégrale du Théâtre, Bordas (Paris, France), 1953.

Le Soulèvement de la Jeunesse, Aux Escaliers de Lausanne pour Paris, Librairie de la Porte Latine (Lausanne, Switzerland), 1958.

Les Champs de Force de la Peinture Lettriste, selfpublished (Paris, France), 1964.

Considérations sur la Mort et l'Enterrement de Tristan Tzara, Centre de Créativité (Paris, France), 1965.

La Théorie Nucléaire de la Monnaie et de la Banque, la Carte Copernicienne Opposée à la Carte Ptoléméique de la Monnaie et de la Banque, Réforme du Systéme Monétiare, Épuration ou Reconversation des Dirigeants et des Responsables des Banques, Éditions du Centre de Créativité (Paris, France), 1966.

Dialogue Isou-Lemaître sur Certains Aspects de la Création, l'Éthique des Créateures, les Problèmes Éthiques et les Réglements d'un Mouvement et d'un Groupe de Créateurs, Ainsi que sur Quelques Incidents Advenus dans le Mouvement et le Groupe Lettristes, Centre de Créativité (Paris, France), 1966.

Histoire et Rénovation de l'Automatisme Spirituel, 17e (Paris, France), 1967.

(With Roland Sabatier) Les Créations du Lettrisme, Centre International de Création Kladologique (Paris, France), 1970.

Les Conception Nucléaire, 17e (Paris, France), 1970.

Les Création Cinématographique et les Nouvelles Vagues, Centre de Créativité (Paris, France), 1970.

(With Maurice Lemaître) Antonin Artaud Torturé par les Psychiatres, Lettrisme (Paris, France), 1970.

A Propos de Procés pour Diffamation dans la Presse, special Lettrisme imprint (Paris, France), 1970.

(With Maurice Lemaître) Catalogue Lettriste, [Paris, France], 1970s.

La Dynamique de la Créativité Pure et Détournée, Centre International de Création Kladologique (Paris, France), 1971.

Le Pompiers du Nouveau Roman, "Lettrisme" (Paris, France), 1971.

Les Créations du Lettrisme, "Lettrisme" (Paris, France), 1972.

Introduction à un Traité de Mathématiques, 1964, PSI (Paris, France), 1973.

Introduction à une Nouvelle Conception de la Science: la Chorismatique, la Dusarestique, la Diatasique et la Toméique des Domaines Préoccupés de la Réalité Objective, Lettrisme (Paris, France), 1973.

A Propos d'Alain Satié, ou Pourquoi un Artiste qui Abandonne un Mouvement Novateur Perd de sa Valeur et de Son Importance Que Reprend un Inédit Explorateur de Cette Tendance, Édition Psi (Paris, France), 1973.

L'Arrêt du Fonctionnement Créatif et les Moyens de Remettre en Marche Cette Fonction Capitale de l'Existence, Édition Psi (Paris, France) c. 1973

De l'Impressionisme au Lettrisme: l'Évolution des Moyens de Réalisation de la Peinture Moderne, Filipacchi (Paris, France), 1974.

L'Héritier du Château, Ballard (Paris, France), 1976.

Introduction à l'Esthétique Imaginaire, Centre de Créativité (Paris, France), 1977.

Adorable Roumaine, Eurédif (Paris, France), 1978.

Le Bouleversement de l'Architecture: la Redéfinition, le Reclassement du Passé, l'Enrichissement par le Ciselant, l'Hypergraphie, l'Esthapeïrisme et le Supertemporel de l'Architecture, Sabatier-Satié (Aubervilliers, France), 1979.

Contre le Cinéma Situationniste, Néo-Nazi, Librairie la Guide (Paris, France), 1979.

Histoire du Socialisme: du Socialisme Primitif au Socialisme des Créateurs, Scarabée (Paris, France), 1984.

Belle de Lumière, Vertiges (Paris, France), 1985.

(With others) Lettrisme: les Débuts, 1944/1966 La Galerie (Paris, France), 1987.

Précisions sur la Découverte et l'Invention en Thérapeutique, Publications E.D.A. (Paris, France), 1990.

Manifeste pour la Rénovation de l'Architecture, Art, Vidéo, Cinéma et Écritures (Paris, France), 1992.

Mémoires sur les Forces Futures des Arts Plastiques et sur Leur Mort, Cahiers de l'Externité (Paris, France), 1998.

Introduction à l'Esthétique Imaginaire: et Autres Écrits, Cahiers de l'Externité (Paris, France), 1999.

Contre l'Internationale Situationniste: 1960-2000, Editions Hors Commerce (Paris, France), 2000.

Réflexions sur André Breton, preface by Philippe Blanchon, Al Dante (Romainville, France) 2000.

(With Alain Satié and Gérard Bermond) La Peinture Lettriste, Jean-Paul Rocher Éditeur (Paris, France), 2000.

Mes Définitions de l'ouvre de Jean Cocteau, Al Dante (Romainville, France), 2000.

Créatique; ou, La Novatique: 1941-1976, Al Dante (Romainville, France), 2003.

Also author of Manifesto of Lettrist Poetry: A Commonplaces about Words and theatre piece La Marche des Jongleurs.

SIDELIGHTS:

Isidore Isou is considered the founder of "Lettrism," a movement that reduced poetry to symbols, letters, puns, and images. He argued that there was an evolution of poetry that began with Baudelaire and continued through Tzara. The poem became the phrase, the phrase became the word, the word became the phoneme, the phoneme became the syllable, and the syllable became the alphabetic letter. Lettrism was a lexical revolution, arguing that the alphabetic letter was the only necessary material for a poetry based on the beauty and melody of combinations of letters. Isou, along with other lettrists, created phonic poems. He composed music and painted with the same mindset he used with his poetry; Isou also experimented with different forms of handwriting, exploring Lettrism as a visual poetry.

Born Jean-Isidore Goldstein in Botosani, Romania, in 1925, he fled to Paris, with the help of the Jewish underground, in 1945 to escape the Nazis. Once in France, Isou created the idea of lettrism in the review La Dictature Lettriste, a journal that lasted only one issue. The name of the review tried to grab the attention of a public recovering from the dictators of World War II. Next, Isou and Maurice Lemaitre created a "Lexique des Lettres Nouvelles," comprised of more than 130 items to be used as the sound alphabet of vocal creations. In his Introduction à une Nouvelle Poésie et à Une Nouvelle Musique, Isou writes: "The word is the first stereotype … The rigidity of forms impedes their transmission. These words are so heavy that the flow fails to carry them. Temperaments die before arriving at the goal (firing blanks). No word is capable of carrying the impulses one wants to send with it."

Isou was anything but subtle in championing his new poetic theory. In 1947 he and his lettrists distributed handbills around Paris that denounced surrealism and social realism. Through the publicity of the handbill crusade, he won his first book publishing contract for Introduction à une Nouvelle Poésie et à Une Nouvelle Musique, de Charles Baudelaire à Isidore Isou. The book was published the same year. In 1949, Isou published La Mécanique des Femmes, and in 1950, Saint Ghetto des Prêts: Grimoire. Lettrism was gaining momentum as a political movement, and these books were designed to invoke repression as a way to win support for Lettrism. La Mécanique des Femmes was a sex manual and was temporarily banned while Isou was sent to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation.

Upon his release from the hospital, Isou resumed his quest for a youth movement. He covered Paris with leaflets promising that twelve million youths would begin the Lettrist movement by taking to the streets. The twelve million youths never appeared, however. In 1950, he tried again with Front de la Jeunesse, a political manifesto that argued that society's youth were the only part of society that had not become a cultural commodity. Also in 1950, Isou tried a more violent route. Thirty of his youth followers broke into a Catholic orphanage to set the children free. This provoked a small riot, and Isou then abandoned his activism. Young Lettrist leaders continued their revolutionary spirit without him, however, and there was a student uprising in May 1968. Isou remained at odds with the violence of their ideas. He redefined his earlier cries for revolt and called only for minor reforms, arguing that superior students should be allowed to leave school early, receive grants from the government, and skip grades.

In 1976 Isou published L'Héritier du Château, a collection of unstructured ideas. By attacking the establishment, the narrator questions doctors who force their patients to remain sane, which the narrator says will prevent the patients’ mental clarity. Eric Sellin, who reviewed the book for World Literature in Review, commented: "It is not a ‘good book'—with all the wonderful possibilities that label suggests—but rather a very intelligent and articulate testament of a disordered state of mind."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:


BOOKS


Isou, Isidore, Introduction à une Nouvelle Poésie et à Une Nouvelle Musique, Gallimard (Paris, France), 1947.

Marcus, Greil, Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1989.

McCaffery, Steve, editor, Sound Poetry: A Catalogue, Underwich Editions (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1978.

PERIODICALS


Village Voice, April 26, 2005, J. Hoberman, review of Venom and Eternity.

World Literature in Review, winter, 1978, Eric Sellen, review of L'Héritier du Château.

ONLINE


3am Magazine,http://www.3ammagazine.com/ (September 25, 2006), brief biography of Isidore Isou.

Contemporary ASCII, http://www.ljudmila.org/??vuk/ ascii/fre_eng.htm (September 25, 2006), information on Lettrism vocabulary.

Grist,http://www.thing.net/??grist/ (September 25, 2006), "Isadore Isou a la Sorbonne"; David Seaman, "Michel Amarger and La Marche des Jongleurs by Isidore Isou."

Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (September 25, 2006), information on Isadore Isou's film work.

Media and Art Net, http://www.medienkunstnetz.de/ (September 25, 2006), brief biography of Isidore Isou.

Nodal Consultants Web site,http://www.nodal.fr/ (September 25, 2006), "Isidore Isou."

Isidore Isou Web site,http://www.thing.net/??grist/lnd/ lettrist/isou.htm (October 10, 2006), Karl Young, profile of Isidore Isou.

Ubuweb,http://www.ubu.com/ (September 25, 2006), information on Isidore Isou and Lettrism.

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