Catriona McAra
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‘Open sesame’
Dorothea Tanning’s critical writing
in Surrealist women’s writing
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This chapter offers a reading of Dorothea Tanning’s little-known non-fiction writing from the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s, which critically engages with intellectual history, artists and artistic movements. The chapter frames Tanning’s critical writing in relation both to her visual work and to revisionary feminist perspectives on surrealism that, like Tanning’s written work, started emerging in the 1970s. Despite the fact that Tanning herself proclaimed that she was suspicious of feminism, the chapter demonstrates that her critical writings – read alongside her visual and fictional output – indeed manifest a feminist politics still pertinent in the twenty-first century.

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Surrealist women’s writing

A critical exploration



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