The History of Surrealism
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000 - 351 pagina's
"I believe," André Breton said, "in the future resolution of the states of dream and reality--in appearance so contradictory--in a sort of absolute reality, or surréalité." The Surrealist movement, born in the 1920s out of the ferment of Dada, committed to revolution against bourgeois rationalism, and inspired by Freudian exploration of the unconscious, has reverberated more widely and deeply than perhaps any other art movement in our century. Its automatism, biomorphic shapes, visionary mode, and manipulation of found objects mark the work of artists as different as Ernst, Miró, Magritte, and Dali.
Maurice Nadeau's History of Surrealism, first published in French in 1944 and in English in 1965, has become a classic. It is both lucid and authoritative--by far the best overall account of this complex movement. Nadeau traces the evolution of Surrealism, bringing to life its many internal debates about politics and art. He relates the movement to its intellectual and artistic environment. And he provides the statements and manifestos of Breton, Aragon, Tzara, and others.
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If one establishes the supreme authority of automatism and reduces the
individual consciousness to (in Breton's words) “a modest recording device” for
unconscious or collective experiences, the mind has then lost its integrity and
The absolute rationalism still fashionable permits consideration only of facts
closely related to our experience . . . Needless to add that experience itself has
been assigned limits. It inhabits a cage increasingly difficult to coax it out of.
... a “theoretical speculation on the data of internal experience and of a certain
experience of external objects and events,” and a dialectical attitude which was
nothing other than the “progress of the mind according to its consciousness of
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