To Exact Change

Signed First Ed


Maldoror & Complete Works of Lautréamont [Only complete 1-vol annotated edition]
(Exact Change, Cambridge USA, 1994)
ISBN  1-878972-12-X  [Third impression, with Afterword 2011]

André Breton wrote that Maldoror is “the expression of a revelation so complete it seems to exceed human potential.” Little is known about its pseudonymous author aside from his real name (Isidore Ducasse), birth in Uruguay (1846), and early death in Paris (1870). Lautréamont’s writings bewildered his contemporaries but the Surrealists modelled their efforts after his lawless black humour and poetic leaps of logic, exemplified by the oft-quoted simile, “As beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella!” This is the only complete and annotated collection of Lautréamont’s writings available in English, in a superior translation.

"There are some who write seeking the commendation of their fellows by means of noble sentiments which their imaginations invent or they possibly may possess. But I set my genius to portray the pleasures of cruelty! . . Cannot genius be cruelty's ally in the secret resolutions of Providence? Or, if cruel, can't one possess genius? My words will provide the proof; all you need do is listen to them, if you like... . ." — Lautréamont (Isidore Ducasse)

 “It took a century for an English translation of Les Chants de Maldoror worthy of the original to appear… The new edition is also an aesthetic delight with a luscious typeface” [Fortean Times] 

“Maldoror has been one of my favourite books for the last fifteen years, and Alexis Lykiard’s translation is without doubt the finest… One of the great classics of world weirdness… A stunning book, a stunning translation, and highly recommended to those looking for a new world to explore. Beware…” [David Tibet, All Hallows]

“Lykiard’s copious annotations help greatly… I feel happier in the company of those such as Lykiard when he writes: ‘All opinions, Ducasse is saying in the Poésies, can be attacked and reversed, just as all words can be rearranged. Nothing is fixed or static. Stasis is death” [Harry Mathews, London Review of Books] 

“I’ve been enjoying your Lautréamont translations, esp. Poésies” [David Gascoyne] 

“Without doubt the only translation to capture accurately Maldoror’s wild soul” [Mark Valentine, Aklo] 

“Pour la qualité de son travail nous accordons la palme à Alexis Lykiard. Ainsi, grâce à lui, il nous revient un Ducasse anglicisé, ‘beau comme un…’ Le mot juste m’échappe!” [Michael Pakenham, Cahiers Lautréamont, 1998] 

“His translation is passionate, involved, and bristling. He convinces”[Richard Holmes, The Times] 

“It is gorgeous & finally the Lautréamont book that was needed. Félicitations!” [Pierre Joris]  



Lautréamont’s Poésies [Complete Works vol.2 + Intro.] (Allison & Busby 1977)  

“A model of an edition and translation”[Jason Wilson, Modern Poetry In Translation] 

“In 1970 Alexis Lykiard produced an excellent annotated edition of Maldoror. He has now followed it with a version of the Poésies, also admirably annotated” [J.W.Lambert, Sunday Times] 

“Lykiard’s acrobatic translation of the Chants de Maldoror is now reissued alongside his new version of the Poésies… Lykiard’s versions are alert and responsive” [Steve Cox, Time Out] 

“The precursor of all that is wild, anarchic and subversive in modern writers such as Céline and Genet, Kafka, Beckett and Burroughs… These Poésies, characteristically written in prose, constitute a remarkably powerful explosive force in proportion to their volume” [Isobel Murray, The Scotsman] 

“I am writing to congratulate you on your edition of Poésies. The best text in English on Lautréamont yet. Well done. Very moving and accurate, a rare combination When I think of Le Clézio’s stupid introduction and see what an intelligent and talented author can turn out, I doubly appreciate your contribution…My warmest congratulations” [Nanos Valaoritis] 

“I found the Poésies volume very useful. The translation struck me as being far superior to that of the Penguin version, & the annotations extremely useful, not to say indispensable. It seemed to me to have the right kind of attack & drive” [John Hartley Williams] 

Lautréamont’s Maldoror  (Thomas Y. Crowell, USA, 1972) 

“Alexis Lykiard’s translation is both subtle and earthy; he effectively brings Lautréamont’s many puns over into English… This is the best translation now available” [Paul West, Washington Post] 

“Alexis Lykiard’s new fluent translation makes clear its poetic texture and what may be termed its subversive attraction” [New York Times] 

“One can only praise Lykiard’s fine effort. It is highly recommended” [Choice, USA] 

“A most important piece of scholarship” [Virginia Quarterly Review] 

“The best English version available, and Maldoror occupies a place as a minor classic in the history of the modern literary temperament” [Library Journal, NY]  

Lautréamont’s Maldoror [Centenary edn. 1st complete annotated Eng. trans.]
(Allison & Busby 1970)

‘Mr Lykiard has served Lautréamont well over the years. His translation of Maldoror is first-rate… A magnificent achievement… Mr Lykiard displays a comparable literary sense in his rendering of Poésies” [Alex de Jonge, Spectator] 

“Particularly welcome in view of the linguistic complexity of the original… Lautréamont’s strange, elaborate metaphors are so fluently transposed into the English language that the translation requires no support and reads independently as a work in its own right” [Tribune] 

“Mr Lykiard’s translation fittingly commemorates the gargoyle genius of his subject…Beyond the excellent version he offers, the translator has also given us notes and appendices” [Derek Stanford, The Scotsman] 

“It is good to read for once a translation produced con amore”[Geoffrey Strickland, The Listener] 

“I only wish Mr Lykiard, who has taken such pains with his text, could have told us more about the author” [Maurice Richardson, Observer] 

“One comes across passages of prose which are magnificent in a Byronic manner” [John Lehmann, Financial Times]