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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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The Surrealist Object in Theory

The Surrealist Object in Theory

(p.76) 3 The Surrealist Object in Theory
Obscure Objects of Desire Surrealism, Fetishism, and Politics

Johanna Malt

Oxford University Press

Surrealist theory and practice in the 1920s and 1930s was caught between two poles. In the early days of the movement, much of its activity centred on the pursuit of automatism in various forms, including the automatic writing at which Robert Desnos so dangerously excelled, as well as non-verbal forms such as the game of ‘cadavre exquis’ in which each participant added a new body part to a creature without seeing what previous players had drawn. The early issues of La Révolution surrealiste contained many accounts of actual dreams, and the general emphasis was on the completest possible elimination of all traces of rational construction from the resulting products of the creative process. The various writings of André Breton and others on the question of the object have much to reveal about the surrealists' ambivalence towards the principle of revolutionary action.

Keywords:   surrealist theory, practice, automatism, Robert Desnos, André Breton, object, revolutionary action

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