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Leonora Carrington’s cinematic adventures in Mexico
Felicity Gee

uncanny eroticism that explores sexual power dynamics – naked female bodies served as banquets, bound or caged; femme-enfants chased wearing diaphanous white garments; and overly made-up women performing the Gothic trope of the madwoman – Mansion is in dialogue with both the Gothic and surrealism. The film is part of a mobile legacy of surrealism, and a significant work in Carrington’s oeuvre. By mobile, I refer in the first instance to the migration of surrealist artists and writers, those forced to a life in exile and those uprooted for other reasons, which

in Surrealism and film after 1945
Tightrope of hope
Kara M. Rabbitt

In 1943, Suzanne Roussi Césaire, wife of the poet-politician Aimé Césaire and co-founder with him, René Ménil, and Astride Maugée of the influential 1940s Martinican cultural review Tropiques , eulogised, resurrected, and reinvented surrealism for a Caribbean context in an essay titled ‘1943: Le Surréalisme et nous’: Beaucoup ont cru que le Surréalisme était mort. Beaucoup l’ont écrit: Puérilité: son activité s’étend aujourd’hui au monde entier et le surréalisme demeure

in Surrealist women’s writing
Absolutely modern mysteries

Surrealism and film after 1945 is the only available volume devoted to the diverse permutations of international surrealist cinema after the canonical inter-war period. The collection features eleven essays by prominent scholars such as Tom Gunning, Michael Löwy, Gavin Parkinson, and Michael Richardson. An introductory chapter offers a historical overview of this period as well as a theoretical framework for new methodological approaches. Taken as a whole, the collection demonstrates that renowned figures such as Maya Deren, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Jan Švankmajer took part in shaping a vibrant and distinctive surrealist film culture following World War II. Interdisciplinary, intermedial, and international in scope, the volume follows upon recent advances in art history, which have demonstrated that surrealism’s post-war existence has been dynamic, vivid, and adventurous. Beyond the canonical inter-war period, surrealism immersed itself in myth and occultism, participated in anti-colonial struggles, influenced the rise of a youth counterculture, and presented new perspectives on sexuality and eroticism, all of which feed into the permutations of surrealist cinema. Addressing highly influential films and directors related to international surrealism during the second half of the twentieth century, this collection expands the purview of both surrealism and film studies by situating surrealism as a major force in post-war cinema.

Abigail Susik

will keep getting worse.’ 5 Taking these millennial remarks by Penelope Rosemont into consideration, it becomes apparent that there can be no detailed account of the surrealist work refusal without a discussion of the Chicago Surrealist Group’s decisive contributions to this discourse. Of the various manifestations of international surrealism occurring in the twentieth century, this group is one of the most directly tied to the critique of wage labour in capitalism and the activist fight for worker

in Surrealist sabotage and the war on work
Fernando Arrabal and the Spanish Civil War
David Archibald

Surrealism was a cultural and artistic success; but these were precisely the areas of least importance to most Surrealists. Their aim was not to establish a glorious place for themselves in the annals of art and literature, but to change the world, to transform life itself. Luis Buñuel (quoted in Harper and Stone, 2007 : 3) The previous chapters examined cinematic representations of the Spanish Civil War whose politics were in keeping with the dominant ideological positions of the countries from which they emanated. This chapter, in contrast, deals

in The war that won't die
Tom Gunning

Joseph Cornell: surrealist or symbolist? From 1932 until his death in 1972 Joseph Cornell produced a series of major works – boxes, collages, and films – expanding and transforming the idiom of surrealism through a profoundly American appropriation, deeply mediated by cinema. Cornell is best known for his boxes, rectangular shallow containers covered with glass that frame a variety of juxtaposed objects, images, and texts. These boxes recall surrealist objects, such as those showcased in the 1936 Exposition surréaliste d’objets , or the Dada objects of Kurt

in Surrealism and film after 1945
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From Francis Bacon To Oz Magazine
David Hopkins

This article discusses how we might formulate an account of William Blake’s avant-garde reception. Having dealt with Peter Bürger’s theorisation of the notion of ‘avant-garde’, it concentrates on a series of portraits, made from Blake’s life mask, by Francis Bacon in 1955. This ‘high art’ response to the Romantic poet is then contrasted with a series of ‘subcultural’ responses made from within the British counterculture of the 1960s. Case studies are presented from the alternative magazine production of the period (notably an illustration from Oz magazine in which Blake’s imagery is conflated with that of Max Ernst). An article by David Widgery in Oz on Adrian Mitchell’s play Tyger (1971) is also discussed to show how the scholarly literature on Blake of the period (mainly David Erdman) was called on by the counterculture to comment on political issues (e.g. Enoch Powell’s 1968 ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech). The final section of the article shows how the ‘avant-gardism’ of Oz’s utilisation of Blake might be counterposed to the more activist left-wing approach to the poet in small magazines such as King Mob with their links to French situationism. In terms of the classic avant-garde call for a reintegration of art and life-praxis, such gestures testify to a moment in the 1960s when Blake may be considered fully ‘avant-garde’.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
A critical exploration

Whilst many women surrealists worked across different media such as painting, sculpture, photography, and writing, contemporary historiographies have tended to foreground the visual aspects of this oeuvre. Featuring original essays by leading scholars of surrealism, Surrealist Women’s Writing: A Critical Exploration offers the first sustained critical inquiry into the writing of women associated with surrealism. The volume aims to demonstrate the extensiveness and the historical, linguistic, and culturally contextual breadth of this writing, as well as to highlight how the specifically surrealist poetics and politics that characterise these writers’ work intersect with and contribute to contemporary debates on, for example, gender, sexuality, subjectivity, xenophobia, anthropocentrism, and the environment.

Drawing on a variety of innovative theoretical approaches, the essays in the volume focus on the writing of a number of women surrealists, many of whom have hitherto mainly been known for their visual rather than their literary production: Claude Cahun, Leonora Carrington, Kay Sage, Colette Peignot, Suzanne Césaire, Unica Zürn, Ithell Colquhoun, Leonor Fini, Dorothea Tanning and Rikki Ducornet.

Surrealist Women’s Writing: A Critical Exploration offers an important resource for scholars and students across the fields of modernist literature, the historical avant-garde, literary and visual surrealism and its legacies, feminism, and critical theory.


Surrealist sabotage and the war on work is an art-historical study devoted to international surrealism’s critique of wage labour and its demand for non-alienated work between the 1920s and the 1970s. The Introduction and Chapter 1 frame the genealogy of surrealism’s work refusal in relation to its inter-war investment in ultra-left politics, its repudiation of French nationalism, and the early twentieth-century development of sabotage theory in the labour movement. Chapter 2 proposes an interpretation of surrealist automatism in 1920s France as a subversion of disciplined production in the emerging information society and also reperformance of feminised information labour. Chapter 3 is a study of autoeroticism and autonomy in Spanish surrealist Óscar Domínguez’s depictions of women’s work tools, such as the sewing machine and the typewriter, in works of art across media during the 1930s. Chapter 4 provides a historical account of labour activism in Chicago surrealism during the 1960s and 1970s, including an analysis of the Chicago surrealist epistolary exchange with German philosopher Herbert Marcuse. An Epilogue considers the paintings that German surrealist Konrad Klapheck made depicting sewing machines, typewriters, and other tools of information labour during the 1960s, in conjunction with related works by other surrealists such as Giovanna. As a whole, Surrealist sabotage and the war on work demonstrates that international surrealism critiqued wage labour symbolically, theoretically, and politically, through works of art, aesthetics theories, and direct actions meant to effect immediate social intervention.

A feminist haunting in the contemporary arts

Many creative intellectuals have written or spoken of their pilgrimage to meet the English/Mexican, surrealist-associated artist and writer Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) as being a profound encounter. Since her death in May 2011, there have been a profusion of creative responses to her and her work, from theatrical productions to experimental performances, from electronica to folk music, and from fashion photography to curatorial projects.

This survey or curating of Carrington unpicks why artists, writers and performers, especially creative women, have become preoccupied with making work in her legacy. Such fixations and fandom move beyond mere influence, offering a way of approaching art-making and political themes as an attitude or Zeitgeist. The study focuses on the ways in which Carrington is recycled, in the writing of Chloe Aridjis and Heidi Sopinka, the conceptual art of Lucy Skaer and Tilda Swinton, and the performative practice of Samantha Sweeting, Lynn Lu, and Double Edge Theatre in order to speak to current feminist and eco-critical campaigns such as #MeToo and Writers Rebel.

The book’s feminist-surrealist emphasis proposes that it is Carrington, and not one of the central players in surrealism like André Breton and Max Ernst, who is chief in keeping the surrealist message alive today.