The Sources of Surrealism
Surrealism is a particularly complex international movement, embracing both the literary and the visual arts, while lacking any single visual or literary style, and this, together with its long existence, has served to generate a very substantial body of writings - poetry, novels, essays, theoretical writings, manifestoes and other documents - which might be considered as fundamental to any proper understanding of the movement.
The Sources of Surrealism is a comprehensive sourcebook documenting the origins and development of Surrealism internationally through a collection of 234 original documents. The texts have been selected from across the whole range of Surrealist writing, as well as including influential predecessors like Rimbaud and Lautreamont, and contemporaries such as Raymond Roussel and Alfred Jarry. Texts are published in English throughout, with new translations provided for previously untranslated material. The book addresses for the first time the neglected area of the relationship between Surrealism and popular culture, including Surrealism's engagement with cinema, and attempts to address the increased critical interest in what in the past were more neglected figures, such as Michel Leiris and Georges Bataille. Particular emphasis is given to the earlier documents and influences upon the Surrealist movement, as well as to the period of its internationalism during the 1930s, and the texts cover Surrealism in Britain and Belgium as well as France.
This fascinating collection presents what was most vital about this complex and often contradictory movement, and serves as an essential reference book for scholars, as well as stimulating reading for all those with a general interest in the subject.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'Altogether, in both detail and scope, it has the feel of something satisfyingly comprehensive. Matheson's introduction alone, at over 70 pages, is almost book-length. With all these elements in place The Sources of Surrealism looks certain to remain an essential reference work on the group for many years to come'. Arlis 'This commanding collection of documents of the Surrealist movement supplies a rich reservoir of material ... There are few libraries that could reproduce the broad reach of this anthology from their own primary or secondary resources ... Such a wide ranging collection offers an interesting opportunity to consider the comparative longevity of the work of Surrealist writers and artists'. The Art Book August 2007