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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
This work is the definitive word on surrealism. All bases are covered, from the history of the movement to the methods behind it; the artists, culture, and times. If you know a little about the art movement, SURREALISM, this will further your knowledge by far - and if you're relatively new to the subject DON'T WORRY...! This piece is all you'll ever need to speak proficiently on the subject of surrealism.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
This work is the definitive word on surrealism. All bases are covered, from the history of the movement to the methods behind it; the artists, culture, and times. If you know a little about the art movement, SURREALISM, this will further your knowledge by far - and if you're relatively new to the subject DON'T WORRY...! This piece is all you'll ever need to speak proficiently on the subject of surrealism.
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on March 13, 2015
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
First rate cultural history but definitely requires some familiarity with surrealism and its founders before reading the book. It is nonetheless an excellent overview written by an author who knows his subject thoroughly.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The first chapter in Part One is called The War, and next is The Poets in the War. The index has the names of some famous authors: Antonin Artaud, Charles Baudelaire, Henri Bergson, Ambrose Bierce, Albert Camus, E. E. Cummings, Albert Einstein, Friedrich Engels, E. M. Forster, Sigmund Freud, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, G. W. F. Hegel, Heraclitus, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Karl Marx, Henry Miller, Edgar Allan Poe, Ezra Pound, Arthur Rimbaud, Marquis de Sade, Jean-Paul Sartre, Wallace Stevens, Emanuel Swedenborg, Leon Trotsky, Oscar Wilde and William Carlos Williams. That such people existed was important to the creative thinking that was sorting out what people were up to. I am a fan of Geroges Bataille, the last name at the end of a footnote at the bottom of page 155. Near the beginning of Chapter 12, The Crisis of 1929, which quotes a timely question:

What could men still concerned with their status in the world hope for from the surrealist experiment?

A letter was sent out asking about activity limited to an individual form, and:

to what degree do you believe that a common activity can be continued; of what nature would it be and with whom . . . ?

The footnote which mentions Bataille declares:

Let us list the names of the persons to whom this letter was sent.

Artaud was listed as an expelled surrealist. Leon Trotsky had been exiled. The major sentiment was: "it was the duty of the men who worked for the Revolution to be concerned with the fate of Lenin's comrade." Georges Bataille stated opposition to common action. A meeting turned to "the degree of individual moral qualification." These were people deeply moved by a splendid occasion for scandal.

Like an abortive discussion in philosophy, those who lost the argument were left hoping:

Surrealism contains and transcends these two attitudes; it has no concern for the figure it may cut, absorbed as it is in the search for the point where contradiction no longer exists. (p. 159).
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
i read this book in 1978 and it was a great influence on me. the surrealists wanted to change the world also i recommend anais nin's "novel of the future".
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