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History of the Surrealist Movement [Paperback]

Gérard Durozoi , Alison Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Dec 15 2005
"With its unprecedented depth and range, this massive new history of Surrealism from veteran French philosopher and art critic Durozoi will be the one-volume standard for years to come. . . . The book discusses expertly the main surrealist artists like Jean Arp, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró, but also treats with considerable understanding the surrealist writing by Louis Aragon, Paul Eluard, Robert Desnos, Julien Graçq and, of course, the so-called 'Pope of Surrealism,' André Breton. . . . This book should turn up in all serious collections on 20th century art."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

From Dada to the Automatists, and from Max Ernst to André Breton, Gérard Durozoi here provides the most comprehensive history of the Surrealist movement. Tracing the movement from its origins in the 1920s to its decline in the 1950s and 1960s, Durozoi tells the history of Surrealism through its activities, publications, and reviews, demonstrating its close ties to some of the most explosive political, as well as creative, debates of the twentieth century.

Drawing on a staggering amount of documentary and visual evidence—including 1,000 photos—Durozoi illuminates all the intellectual and artistic facets of the movement, from literature and philosophy to painting, photography, and film, thus making History of the Surrealist Movement its definitive encyclopedia.

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From Publishers Weekly

With its unprecedented depth and range, this massive new history of Surrealism (including 232 color plates and 777 halftones) from veteran French philosopher and art critic Durozoi will be the one-volume standard for years to come. Divided chronologically into seven chapters, beginning with 1919-1924 and ending with 1959-1969, the book discusses expertly the main surrealist artists like Jean Arp, Max Ernst, Ren‚ Magritte, Yves Tanguy, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro, but also treats with considerable understanding the surrealist writing by Louis Aragon, Paul Eluard, Robert Desnos, Julien Gracq and, of course, the so-called "Pope of Surrealism," Andr‚ Breton. Emerging from the disarray of World War I, surrealism finally foundered soon after the death of Breton in 1966, by which time world events were as ghastly as any surrealist's most vivid nightmare. There is also room for descriptions of hitherto neglected figures, like the ‚migr‚ painter Simon Hanta‹, father of the great harpsichordist Pierre Hanta‹. The translation manages to convey the clarity of the original text, published in France in 1997, although the syntax is sometimes half French, half English. Durozoi concludes that the "prestige" of surrealism is intact, and the movement managed to "infuse [life] with fresh air," as Gracq wrote. This generous book ends with more than 50 pages of "Notes on the Principal Surrealists and Some of Their Close Followers" useful potted biographies, which are judgmental rather than dry, reference-style efforts and an impressively copious bibliography reflecting the passion and perspicacity seen everywhere else in this book. (Apr.)Forecast: Despite its length and weight, this book should turn up in all serious collections on 20th-century art, but it will also sell well from display tables and word-of-mouth, as surrealism retains the air of sex, dreams and danger that has captivated readers and art lovers for more than 75 years. And some rarely reproduced images will spur further scholarly investigations.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Philosopher Durozoi, an active participant in Surrealism who is widely represented in writings on the movement, here provides a well-paced narrative of the lives and works of the surrealists. Developments in literature, philosophy, painting, sculpture, photography, and film are placed in context and shown to challenge the prevailing ideas at many points in the past century. The author maintains a global focus instead of limiting himself to Paris and New York, the typical axes for dialog on this movement. The intricate text is supplemented by almost 50 pages of biographies on many "principal surrealists" and primary source material, some of which has been translated into English for the first time by Anderson; possibilities for further research abound. In closing, Durozoi comments that though the official movement has ended, Surrealism itself remains vibrant, as it is the only movement to have espoused an ethic one of love, poetry, and freedom. However, he also captures the "shadow" of the movement by writing that now more than ever the world "deserves the anathema once regularly unleashed on it by the group" for its focus on economic interests, perfectly illustrating the polemics that contributed to the movement's demise. This wonderfully complete text, which may well become a standard history on the subject, is recommended for larger public libraries and libraries specializing in art history. [Publication of this volume coincides with the exhibition "Surrealism: Desire Unbound," which travels from London's Tate Gallery to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City this spring; the catalog, of the same name, is published by Princeton University Press. Ed.] Nadine Dalton Speidel, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, OH
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing and thorough history of Surrealism April 1 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This book is awesome. I've purchased histories of Surrealism before--all of which are now desperately out-dated and out of print besides...including the great Abrams book on Dada and Surrealism. This book beats them all. For one, it covers not just the Surrealists in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, but examines the spread of the movement to the US, Africa, Japan, India, and South America during the 1940s-1960s. For two, it deals with all media: painting, sculpture, poetry, philosophy, fiction, film, etc. For three, it features biographies of all the major stars, and also of all the minor players in their orbits. For four, it includes 1000 illustrations--many of them documentary and never published before this book was originally released in the French edition, as well as many many color plates scattered throughout the text. A beautiful production, and a terrific text by Durozoi, who was linked to the Surrealists in the 1950s and 1960s by virtue of his involvement with philosophy.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing and thorough history of Surrealism April 1 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is awesome. I've purchased histories of Surrealism before--all of which are now desperately out-dated and out of print besides...including the great Abrams book on Dada and Surrealism. This book beats them all. For one, it covers not just the Surrealists in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, but examines the spread of the movement to the US, Africa, Japan, India, and South America during the 1940s-1960s. For two, it deals with all media: painting, sculpture, poetry, philosophy, fiction, film, etc. For three, it features biographies of all the major stars, and also of all the minor players in their orbits. For four, it includes 1000 illustrations--many of them documentary and never published before this book was originally released in the French edition, as well as many many color plates scattered throughout the text. A beautiful production, and a terrific text by Durozoi, who was linked to the Surrealists in the 1950s and 1960s by virtue of his involvement with philosophy.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big, Heavy, Heady Brick of a Book May 17 2009
By Theseus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I'm keeping this simple -- here's an art book where the text and editorial content matches the illustrations in terms of quality and awesome-osity. And the illustrations in this book are AWESOME.

Over 790 pp with something like over 800 illustrations and about 40% of them are in color. Great appendices, too: 50 pp of "Notes on Principal Surrealists and Some of Their Close Followers," a 25 p Bibliography, Index of Names, and Index of Periodicals.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is THE BOOK for surrealist history Jan. 18 2011
By darrenj - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a translation of a French history of the surrealist movement, and the author has done the homework. It is divided into detailed sections so that the reader knows what happened and when, and the substance of the contradictions and conflicts that made up surrealism in its heyday. Of course much of the good reading comes from Breton's activities, which defined many of these debates. What it doesn't do is to delve into rhetoric, theory or the philosophy of surrealist practice--instead it is pure art history, sticking to the core of surrealist development. There is much material on Breton's conflict with the left which is very useful, and much which isn't detailed--such as some of the controversy surrounding Chirico and Dali, which one would expect to be there. This change of emphasis reflects a very academic view of surrealism, one that does not necessarily get caught up in some of the more famous surrealist troubles, and instead wants to take us inside Breton's world and reconstruct what was significant for his inner circle.
1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quick and reliable Dec 12 2008
By S. Grad - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
the book came quickly to me and it is new, with the plastic protection unopened
1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cantos de sirenas puestas a salar en las playas del sueño... March 25 2008
By V. E. M. Cruz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
La voz de Durozoi
es ese soplo
de aire sahariano
que hacía falta
a la historiografía
del Surrealismo
en todas sus variantes:
el pincel de nubes,
el beso petrificado
y los alaridos elegíacos
que sueltan las sirenas
(esos cisnes de agua salada)
al caer en las redes
de los sonámbulos.

Cualquiera que lea este libro
querrá morder la nariz de Breton
en castigo por su impiedad.

Cualquiera que curse sus páginas
deseará que los almanaques ardan en reversa
para recobrar el sabor de un movimiento
capaz de transformar el sueño en vida,
deseo y revolución.
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