Surrealism has long been seen as its founder, Andre Breton, wanted it to be seen: as a movement of love and liberation. In Compulsive Beauty, Foster reads surrealism from its other, darker side: as an art given over to the uncanny, to the compulsion to repeat and the drive toward death.
Compulsive Beauty not only offers a deconstructive reading of surrealism, long neglected by Anglo-American art history, it also participates in a postmodern reconsideration of modernism, the dominant accounts of which have obscured its involvements in desire and trauma, capitalist shock and technological development.
About the Author
Hal Foster is Townsend Martin '17 Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. He is the author of Compulsive Beauty (1993), The Return of the Real: Art and Theory at the End of the Century (1996), and Prosthetic Gods (2004), all published by the MIT Press, and other books.
"In exhilarating, thoughtful and subtle arguments, Foster takessurrealist interpretations of psychoanalysis into a shockingencounter with the Freudian uncanny.... [An] extremely importantbook." —Jane Beckett, Times Higher Education Supplement