Robert Desnos, Surrealism, and the Marvelous in Everyday Life

Robert Desnos, Surrealism, and the Marvelous in Everyday Life

Robert Desnos, Surrealism, and the Marvelous in Everyday Life

Robert Desnos, Surrealism, and the Marvelous in Everyday Life

Synopsis

In this critical biography of Robert Desnos (1900–1945), Katharine Conley reevaluates the surrealist movement through the life and works of one of its founders. Desnos was as famous among the surrealists for his independence of mind as for his elaborate "automatic" drawings and his brilliant oral and written performances during the incubational period of the group. He stayed with the official surrealist movement in Paris for only six years but was pivotal during that time in shaping the surrealist notion of "transforming the world" through radical experiments with language and art. After leaving the group, Desnos continued his career of radio broadcasting and writing for commercials. Though no longer part of the official movement, he remained committed to his own version of popular surrealism: Desnosian surrealism and the search for the "marvelous" in everyday life. Near the end of World War II he was deported and imprisoned for his work in the French Resistance and died at the newly liberated camp of Terezin in Czechoslovakia. Reports from within the camp indicate that Desnos took with him into Terezin his most deeply held surrealist beliefs.
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