One of the most influential cultural movements of the past century, surrealism has been extensively studied within the framework of its contributions to art and literature—but its pivotal role in the development of intellectual ideas, both political and philosophical, has yet to be fully explored. Featuring writings from the 1920s up to the late 1990s, this anthology—the first of its kind in English—finally reveals surrealism’s diverse scope, its deep contributions to the history of ideas, and its profound implications for contemporary thought.
Including essays by leading surrealists and other major writers on the movement, the volume addresses the key themes of identity, otherness, freedom and morality, and poetry. The texts uncover, among other things, the significance of surrealism for the antifascist and anticolonialist movements and the various manifestations of surrealism in the years after World War II. Giving space to the many different voices that made up the movement, and placing them for the first time within a clear and coherent historical framework, The Surrealism Reader radically revises the popular understanding of what, and when, surrealism was—making this book an essential reference for students, scholars, and all those interested in the central place of surrealism within twentieth-century thought and culture.