Surrealist Women: An International Anthology

Surrealist Women: An International Anthology

Surrealist Women: An International Anthology

Surrealist Women: An International Anthology

Synopsis

"This is a very fine volume; it is inclusive, superbly researched, and the introductions are clearly written.... It should become a standard text of surrealism."--Stephen Eric Bronner, Professor of Political Science and Comparative Literature, Rutgers University

Beginning in Paris in the 1920s, women poets, essayists, painters, and artists in other media have actively collaborated in defining and refining surrealism' basic project-achieving a higher, open, and dynamic consciousness, from which no aspect of the real or the imaginary is rejected. Indeed, few artistic or social movements can boast as many women forebears, founders, and participants-perhaps only feminism itself. Yet outside the movement, women' contributions to surrealism have been largely ignored or simply unknown. This anthology, the first of its kind in any language, displays the range and significance of women' contributions to surrealism. Letting surrealist women speak for themselves, Penelope Rosemont has assembled nearly three hundred texts by ninety-six women from twenty-eight countries. She opens the book with a succinct summary of surrealism' basic aims and principles, followed by a discussion of the place of gender in the movement' origins. She then organizes the book into historical periods ranging from the 1920s to the present, with introductions that describe trends in the movement during each period. Rosemont also prefaces each surrealist' work with a brief biographical statement.

Excerpt

Knock hard. Life is deaf.
—Mimi Parent

Although the first women of surrealism have been almost entirely overlooked in the historical and critical literature, clearly they were a bold, imaginative, and remarkable lot. Even before surrealism’s first Manifesto appeared in Paris in 1924, women were active in the movement, and they have been expanding and illuminating its universe ever since. in all the arts and major genres of writing, women helped develop surrealism’s radical poetic/critical outlook and thus helped make it what it was and is. To ignore their contributions is to ignore some of the best of surrealism.

This book seeks to bring to light as much as possible the quality, range, diversity, and vitality of women participants in the international Surrealist Movement. Although the contributions of women have been acknowledged and in some cases celebrated within the movement itself, they are hardly known outside it. in the United States, the few books devoted to the topic of women and surrealism are narrowly concerned with a dozen or so “stars”— mostly painters and photographers whose work has finally, and most often posthumously, attained some standing in the art market. As a result, women surrealists whose principal vehicle of expression is the written word have been especially neglected. This neglect, in turn, has perpetuated old stereotypes and other misapprehensions of the surrealist project. Generalizations about surrealism based entirely on painters are bound to be misleading, because surrealism has never been primarily a movement of painters. Indeed, if the evidence of surrealism’s numerous women poets and thinkers has been suppressed, how could the prevailing conceptions of surrealism be anything but false?

I hope that this gathering of poems, automatic texts, dreams, tales, theoretical articles, declarations, polemics, games, and responses to inquiries will help correct this distortion by revealing some of the many ways in which . . .

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