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Obscure Objects of Desire Surrealism, Fetishism, and Politics$
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Johanna Malt

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199253425

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253425.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Obscure Objects of Desire Surrealism, Fetishism, and Politics

Johanna Malt

Oxford University Press

The object is central to this book's argument, and it focuses on surrealist reactions to, and production of, objects; on the way various surrealists respond to and intervene in the material world through text, painting, and particularly through the invention of the objet surréaliste. Part of the reason for such an approach is a response to the problematic relationship between theory and practice. Focusing on the object is a way of engaging with surrealist products as political in themselves, and moving beyond the political alignment of the surrealists as individuals and as a group. It allows us to test various surrealist products against the political claims made on their behalf. It is possible to read it as a crossroads of political and psychoanalytic theories, as a point on which Marxist and Freudian preoccupations, the political insight of ‘profane illumination’ and the psychological fascination of ‘le merveilleux’, converge.

Keywords:   object, surrealists, material world, painting, objet surréaliste, theory, practice, profane illumination, le merveilleux

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