The popular conception of Surrealism views it as a visual means of expression; as in the paintings of Dali and Ernst or in the films of Buñuel. However, Surrealism yielded substantial output inliterary form. Surrealist literature is often overlooked since it eschews the traditions of modernism, embracing fragmentation and disintegration. Drawing on traditional forms of storytelling, the fairy tale and the Gothic novel, Surrealist fiction, according to Julien Gracq, “had the essential virtue of laying claim to express, at each moment, man’s totality… by maintaining at its most extreme point the tension between two simultaneous attitudes—bedazzlement and fury—that do not cease to respond to this fascinating and unlivable world in which we exist.” The first collection, The Identity of Things, brings together approximately 50 stories and fragments by authors from 17 countries, including such familiar names as Breton, Crevel, Unik, Paz and Aragon. The Myth of the World, the second volume, groups approximately 45 works of less familiar authors from 20 countries which explore the importance of myth, myth being the core around which human sensibility and societies are based. Wishing to “transform the world,” the Surrealists made myth the focus of their fiction.
Paperback: 277 pages