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History of the Surrealist Movement [Paperback]

Gerard Durozoi
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

18 Jan 2005
Tracing the movement from its origins in the 1920s to its decline in the 1950s and 60s, this text tells the history of Surrealism through its activities, publications and reviews, showing its ties to some of the political debates of the period.

Product details

  • Paperback: 816 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; New edition edition (18 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226174123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226174129
  • Product Dimensions: 28 x 22 x 5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,005,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A fundamental text, History of the Surrealist Movement transmits the urgency of the Surrealists' engagement on every front, poetry as well as politics. Durozol's concentration on Surrealism's intellectual and artistic life produces a clear account of a movement which intersected with the major political, as well as creative, debates of the twentieth century. At every point there is a lucid explanation of key Surrealist ideas and positions, and the summaries of the key publications are incisive and extremely readable." - Dawn Ades, University of Essex --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Gerard Durozoi is coauthor, with Berdanrd Lecherbonnier, of the books, "Andre Breton: L'ecriture surrealiste" and "Le Surrealisme: Theories, themes, techniques" and the editor of "Dictionnaire de l'art moderne et contemporain" and "Dictionnaire de philosophie." During the 1950s and 1960s he ws closely affiliated, as a philosopher, with the Surrealist movement. Alison Anderson holds a degree in translation fromthe University of Geneva, Switzerland. She has translated extensively from French and is also a novelist.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a marvel of the marvellous 8 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this book, dealing with the marvellous, is a marvel in itself.
it covers the history of surrealism carefully and comprehensively from its moving away from dada to the gradual tailing off of its power from the 50s onward.
i discovered information about many figures and facts i had not come across before, and the book is particularly good at covering the relationship with the communist party and the split between breton and aragon for example.
if the last part of the book is less enthralling than the rest, it is probably because surrealism itself had lost some of its edge by then.
the greatest delights of the book are its illustrations.
there are beautiful colour reproductions of many paintings - a lot of which were unfamiliar to me, and there is a wealth of photographic illustration too - of drawings and artists and pamphlets and art events and objects.

the book is almost a surrealist object in itself, being so heavy that it is quite hard to read comfortably at times - but that just makes it all the better.

it showed what passion and principal there was in the surrealist movement at a time when art wasn't quite so dominated by the dead hand of the market as it is today.

i loved it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing and thorough history of Surrealism 2 April 2002
By A Customer - Published on
This book is awesome. I've purchased histories of Surrealism before--all of which are now desperately out-dated and out of print besides...including the great Abrams book on Dada and Surrealism. This book beats them all. For one, it covers not just the Surrealists in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, but examines the spread of the movement to the US, Africa, Japan, India, and South America during the 1940s-1960s. For two, it deals with all media: painting, sculpture, poetry, philosophy, fiction, film, etc. For three, it features biographies of all the major stars, and also of all the minor players in their orbits. For four, it includes 1000 illustrations--many of them documentary and never published before this book was originally released in the French edition, as well as many many color plates scattered throughout the text. A beautiful production, and a terrific text by Durozoi, who was linked to the Surrealists in the 1950s and 1960s by virtue of his involvement with philosophy.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big, Heavy, Heady Brick of a Book 17 May 2009
By Theseus - Published on
I'm keeping this simple -- here's an art book where the text and editorial content matches the illustrations in terms of quality and awesome-osity. And the illustrations in this book are AWESOME.

Over 790 pp with something like over 800 illustrations and about 40% of them are in color. Great appendices, too: 50 pp of "Notes on Principal Surrealists and Some of Their Close Followers," a 25 p Bibliography, Index of Names, and Index of Periodicals.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is THE BOOK for surrealist history 19 Jan 2011
By darrenj - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a translation of a French history of the surrealist movement, and the author has done the homework. It is divided into detailed sections so that the reader knows what happened and when, and the substance of the contradictions and conflicts that made up surrealism in its heyday. Of course much of the good reading comes from Breton's activities, which defined many of these debates. What it doesn't do is to delve into rhetoric, theory or the philosophy of surrealist practice--instead it is pure art history, sticking to the core of surrealist development. There is much material on Breton's conflict with the left which is very useful, and much which isn't detailed--such as some of the controversy surrounding Chirico and Dali, which one would expect to be there. This change of emphasis reflects a very academic view of surrealism, one that does not necessarily get caught up in some of the more famous surrealist troubles, and instead wants to take us inside Breton's world and reconstruct what was significant for his inner circle.
1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quick and reliable 12 Dec 2008
By S. Grad - Published on
the book came quickly to me and it is new, with the plastic protection unopened
1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cantos de sirenas puestas a salar en las playas del sueño... 25 Mar 2008
By V. E. M. Cruz - Published on
La voz de Durozoi
es ese soplo
de aire sahariano
que hacía falta
a la historiografía
del Surrealismo
en todas sus variantes:
el pincel de nubes,
el beso petrificado
y los alaridos elegíacos
que sueltan las sirenas
(esos cisnes de agua salada)
al caer en las redes
de los sonámbulos.

Cualquiera que lea este libro
querrá morder la nariz de Breton
en castigo por su impiedad.

Cualquiera que curse sus páginas
deseará que los almanaques ardan en reversa
para recobrar el sabor de un movimiento
capaz de transformar el sueño en vida,
deseo y revolución.
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