Michael Richardson
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Colette Peignot
The purity of revolt
in Surrealist women’s writing
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This chapter examines the writing of Colette Peignot, which revolves around the notion of the sacred. The chapter demonstrates how Peignot’s understanding of the sacred was elaborated in response to Michel Leiris’s foundational essay ‘The Sacred in Everyday Life’ (1938) and surrealist ideas about myth and the marvellous, but it was also intensely inflected by her own personal experience. Peignot’s notion of the sacred is predicated on ‘communication’, a term which for Peignot signifies a paradoxical or dialectical oscillation between extremes: a simultaneous movement towards other people and away from them and the presence of death in the most vital moments of life.

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Surrealist women’s writing

A critical exploration



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