‘The dung beetle’s snowball’
The philosophic narcissism of Claude Cahun’s essay-poetry
in Surrealist women’s writing
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This chapter considers the writing of Claude Cahun, and in particular Disavowals (1930), as a philosophical testing of the boundaries both of the written word and of the self. Adopting Pierre Mac Orlan’s designation of the textual fragments in Disavowals as ‘poem-essays and essay-poems’, the chapter demonstrates how Cahun’s work dialectically engages the realms of the poetic and the philosophical in order to provide a radical commentary on the intimately personal as well as on aspects of society, politics, culture, and gender in the early twentieth century – a commentary that still holds relevance for the twenty-first-century reader.

Surrealist women’s writing

A critical exploration

Editor: Anna Watz

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