The Martinique Route

Martinique: Snake Charmer by André Breton, with text and illustrations by André Masson University of Texas Press, 2008. 117 pages. One of Franklin Rosemont’s final contributions before his death in 2009 was seeing this book—part of the University of Texas Press Surrealist Revolution series, which he edited—through to print. As Rosemont says in his valuable […]

‘The Greatest Power of Shock’

Franklin Rosemont’s 1978 collection of writings by André Breton, What is Surrealism? remains a treasure trove of rare and valuable texts. I have just come across a footnote by Rosemont to “On Proletarian Literature,” an interesting 1933 speech by Breton, which draws attention to the fact that the Surrealists were the first to publish in […]

Lenin, Hegel and Western Surrealism

I first saw reference to the connection between the Surrealists and Lenin’s 1914 Hegel Notebooks in David Roegider’s entry on Surrealism in the first edition of the Encyclopedia of the American Left. Martin Jay notes that it was André Breton who first introduced Henri Lefebrve to Hegel’s Science of Logic in 1924 in his book […]

The dialectic on trial in Manhattan

Meyer Schapiro (1904-1996) was an extremely important historian and theorist of art who specialized in Romanesque architecture. Schapiro was also a highly independent Marxist thinker and frequently wrote on politics throughout his long career. Among his most important contributions in this area were his interventions in defense of the revolutionary internationalist position on World War […]

A Surrealist leaf from Haiti’s revolutionary history

At this moment of physical devastation in Haiti, recalling an event from the country’s rich revolutionary past is a small gesture of solidarity with its people. This passage is from Franklin Rosemont’s long essay André Breton and the First Principles of Surrealism. “Lescot” is Élie Lescot, staunch ally of Franklin Roosevelt and one of Haiti’s […]