Surrealism Reader

An Anthology of Ideas


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ISBN: 9781854376688 Category:

Dawn Ades


Surrealism is one of the most influential cultural movements of the twentieth century. While its contribution to the art and literature of the century is well known, its relation to the development of intellectual ideas has only recently become a matter of serious investigation. This book details the surrealist engagement with major themes in the intellectual history of the twentieth century. It draws together essays from the whole history of surrealism to illustrate the tenacity and consistency with which the surrealists treated themes of psychological reality and the construction of identity, cultural communication, freedom and poetry. Drawn mostly from French and Spanish surrealist journals, the collection gathers together a wide range of texts dating from the 1920s up to the late 1990s, none of which has ever been translated into English before. The Reader features writings by leading surrealists, including Aragon, Artaud, Bataille, Breton, Caillois, Crevel, Dali, Eluard, Mabille, Magritte, Morise and Tzara. It also serves as an introduction to major writers in surrealism whose work is largely unknown to English readers, such as Georges Henein, Rene Alleau, Gerard Legrand and Annie Le Brun. Divided into four thematic sections (‘The Annihilation of Self-Identity’; ‘The Challenge of Otherness’; ‘The Moral Imperative’; ‘The Tasks of Art and Poetry’), each chapter is accompanied by a short introduction, and each text is preceded by a brief explanation of its significance. Giving space to the many different voices that made up the movement, and placing them within a clear and coherent historical framework, the Reader will be an essential reference for students, scholars and all those interested in the central place of surrealism within twentiethcentury culture.

Additional information

Weight 696 g
Dimensions 15.8 x 23 cm
Publisher name Tate Publishing
Publication date 18 December 2015
Number of pages
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 15.8 x 23 cm
Weight 696 g


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Dawn Ades is Emeritus Professor at the University of Essex and was Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Surrealism and its Legacies, University of Manchester. Michael Richardson is Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths College, University of London and the author of Surrealism and Cinema (2006); The Experience of Culture (2001) and Georges Bataille (1993). Krzysztof Fijalkowski is Senior Lecturer at Norwich University of the Arts. He has published extensively, particularly on surrealism in Eastern Europe, photography and design.