Surrealist Painters and Poets
564 pp., 7 x 9 in, 128 illus.
- Published: May 11, 2001
- Publisher: The MIT Press
- Published: August 23, 2002
- Publisher: The MIT Press
Art and writings by Surrealist painters and poets from a wide range of countries.
In 1951 Robert Motherwell published a collection of writings called The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology. Conceived as a sequel to that volume, Surrealist Painters and Poets: An Anthology does for Surrealism what Motherwell's book did for Dadaism. The concept and contents were discussed with Robert Motherwell and met with his enthusiastic approval.
The essays, manifestos, poems, and texts in this anthology offer a composite picture of the Surrealists—their convictions, styles, and spirit—from the movement's beginnings in France just after World War I to its second flowering in America after World War II. The book includes writers and artists from Belgium, Chile, Czechoslovakia, Cuba, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Guyana, Italy, Martinique, Mauritius, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, Senegal, Uruguay, and the United States. Caws's main criterion for inclusion was that the works be the best and most representative of the different forms of Surrealism. Among others, the artists and writers include Andre Breton, Marcel Duchamp and Rrose Selavy, Max Ernst, Mina Loy, Francis Picabia, and Tristan Tzara.
This volume provides the essential textual soundtrack to one of the twentieth century's most influential and controversial art movements.
This is not just another anthology of Surrealist writings. Mary Ann Caws, one of the experts in the field, has put together a highly individual, deeply personal, and wonderfully idiosyncratic collection of writers and visual artists she takes to be 'surrealist,' from such classic figures as André Breton and Louis Aragon to artists usually classified otherwise, such as Kurt Schwitters, William Carlos Williams, and—yes—Rrose Sélavy, who has her very own section. Lavishly and superbly illustrated and wonderfully translated, Surrealist Poets and Painters forces us to rethink the movement and define it more broadly. This is at once a scholarly collection and a work of art in its own right.
Marjorie Perloff, author of Wittgenstein's Ladder: Poetic Language and the Strangeness of the Ordinary
Prof. Caws' balance of comprehensive and passionate appreciation of the Surrealists and their works with authoritative scholarship deserves the epithet marvelous. More than that, her rich, far-ranging, and lucidly written text can be recommended for students and scholars alike as being useful.
Jack J. Spector, Professor, Rutgers Department of Art History, author of Surrealist Art and Writing 1919-39.
The images and texts in this glossy anthology are often startling and almost always beautiful.