Cover image for Surrealist art and writing, 1919-1939 : the gold of time
Surrealist art and writing, 1919-1939 : the gold of time
Spector, Jack J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge [England] ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Physical Description:
ix, 322 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NX542.A1 S68 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Surrealist Art and Writing offers a fresh analysis of Surrealism, the avant-garde movement that, in its search for contemporary lyricism and imagery, united literature and art to politics and psychology. Examining Surrealism's main phases from a variety of perspectives, Jack Spector emphasises the rebellion of the protagonists against their middle-class education. In Manifestos and Manifestations the Surrealists promoted Marxist over liberal politics; Freudian psychoanalysis over French psychiatry; Hegelian dialectics over Cartesian logic; and the outmoded, psychotic, or childish over modernist art. This study offers a coherent overview of the exciting and important interwar period in Europe. In particular it places avant-garde ideas and imagery within the historical and political contexts of the 1920s and 30s, integrating them into contemporary artistic and ideological currents.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

When Spector (Rutgers Univ.) stresses Andre Breton's and others' published and unpublished surrealist writings, he does so to gain insight into this artistic and literary development and also to debunk postmodern theoretical approaches that have provided idiosyncratic interpretations. Rosalind Krauss's 1985 essays in the exhibition catalogue L'Amour fou are dissected as evidence of a "crisis" in historical and art historical investigation. Although he considers a text supreme, Spector does not deny the importance of theory; he advocates surrealist literary production as a balancing force to the more visible Surrealists' "practices," which have always received more attention from scholars. Spector considers the literary transformation of automatic writing and its relationship to the importance of dreams as a development and break from earlier dadaist philosophy. This continued investigation of a subconscious reality became a surrealist "political" statement. Chapters detail the relationship of surrealist text to the "rational" Cartesian educational system of the Third Republic, artistic media, and the significance of woman as "Other." Spector's own writing is dense and presupposes a significant amount of prior knowledge of literature, science, and theory. It is best suited for graduate students, faculty, and professionals. E. K. Menon; Mankato State University

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Breaking the institutional codes: revolution in the classroom
3 The politics of dream and the dream of politics
4 In the service of which revolution? An aborted incarnation of the dream: Marxism and Surrealism
5 Surrealism and painting (The ineffable)
6 The Surrealist woman and the colonial other