Georges Henein: Egyptian poet and revolutionary

The massive ongoing uprising in Egypt provides us with an opportunity to recall an almost forgotten group of revolutionaries and artists—the Egyptian Surrealists. Robin Kelley and the late Franklin Rosemont included them in the book Black, Brown and Beige: Surrealist Writings from Africa and the Diaspora (reviewed earlier on Criticism &c.), but I recently came […]

On the Paths of Breton’s Late Period: Constellations of Miró, Breton

Constellations of Miró, Breton By Paul Hammond City Lights Books, 2000 The period spanning André Breton’s return to France in 1946 to his death in 1966 is too often dismissed by critics as a mere coda to the productive decades of the twenties and thirties. This attitude essentially obscures a third of Breton’s life, drawing […]

Department of Needed Translations: André Breton

I recently had the opportunity to examine the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade edition of André Breton’s Œuvres Complètes, as well as the rare illustrated Album André Breton volume. The first volume came out in 1988 and the fourth, and final one, just appeared in 2008. The Pléiade editions are beautifully produced books, although one wishes […]

More on André Breton and Haiti

I have just discovered a fascinating book (originally published in Quebec as Les Écrivains Noir et le Surréalisme) titled The Black Surrealists by Jean-Claude Michel, a teacher in Miami. I don’t recall this book being cited in Robin Kelley’s Black Brown and Beige (reviewed earlier on this blog), which is a shame because it contains […]

Hiroshima Day, 2010: ‘I Am Grateful for the Wild Grasses’

Today marks the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima, which resulted in at least 70,000 immediate and direct fatalities (an additional 40,000 were killed outright in the bombing of the historic city of Nagasaki three days later—40,000 more died there in the following months from injuries). To commemorate this occasion, […]

‘These nasty vessels’ : Was the BP Oil Disaster Forseen in Andre Breton’s Soluble Fish?

I am in the process of reading Ferdinand Alquié’s The Philosophy of Surrealism (an important book I hope to return to in the near future) and came across the striking passage below from André Breton’s Soluble Fish (1924). Alquié includes this brief excerpt while discussing water imagery in the section titled “Derealization” of Chapter 2, […]

Surrealism and the Non-White World

Black, Brown and Beige: Surrealist Writings From Africa and the Diaspora Edited by Franklin Rosemont and Robin D.G. Kelley University of Texas Press. 2009. 395 pages. A title in the Surrealist Revolution series. ••• African-American historian Robin Kelley and Surrealist Franklin Rosemont (who passed away in 2009) have produced a provocative compilation of Surrealist texts […]