Salvador text Andre Breton Man Ray

Surrealism-Plays is a site devoted to the history and creative works of the Surrealist Movement, as well as the anti-tradition of avant-garde theatre.



SURREALIST WRITERS



Below you will find biographical information on most of the writers associated with Surrealism in between the World Wars.

Contents:
Louis Aragon, Antonin Artaud, Jacques Baron,
Jacques-André Boiffard, André Breton, Luis Buñuel,
René Char, Giorgio de Chirico, René Crevel,
Salvador Dalí, Robert Desnos, Paul Eluard,
David Gascoyne, Michel Leiris, Georges Limbour,
E.L.T. Mesens, Max Morise, Pierre Naville,
Vitezslav Nezval, Paul Nougé, Benjamin Péret,
Jacques Prévert, Raymond Queneau, Jacques Rigaut,
Philippe Soupault, Tristan Tzara, Pierre Unik,
Jacques Vaché & Roger Vitrac.

Other Writers Associated With Surrealism:
Pierre Albert-Birot, Guillaume Apollinaire, Georges Bataille,
René Daumal, Roger Gilbert-Lecomte, Alfred Jarry,
Comte de Lautréamont, Federico García Lorca,
Georges Neveux, Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes,
Raymond Roussel & Alberto Savinio.



Louis Aragon (1897-1982)

Aragon was a key figure among the Paris Dadaists and Surrealists during the 1920s, contributing regularly to the periodicals Littérature and La Révolution Surréaliste. He wrote an abundant amount of poetry, as well as novels and theoretical works. In 1932, he broke ties with the Surrealist group, committing himself fully to Communism. Among Aragon's best known books are The Adventures of Telemachus (1922), The Libertine (1924), Paris Peasant (1926), Irene's Cunt (1928) and Treatise on Style (1928).

Antonin Artaud (1896-1948)

A French poet, playwright, actor and director, Artaud is perhaps best known for his Theatre of Cruelty. He was a member of the Paris Surrealists during the mid 1920s, contributing several articles to the publication La Révolution Surréaliste. He also acted in the landmark films Napoleon (1927) and The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). Artaud's prose poems of the era, such as the collections Umbilical Limbo (1925), Nerve Scales (1926) and Art and Death (1929), as well as his Correspondence with Jacques Riviere (1923-24), capture an unrelenting pursuit of his inmost self. His plays include Jet of Blood (1925) and The Cenci (1935), while The Theatre and Its Double (1938), perhaps his most famous book, features manifestos and theoretical writing concerning the theatre. Having spent much of his final years in various mental asylums, Artaud resurfaced in 1947 with a radio play To Have Done With the Judgment of god. Although the work remained true to his Theatre of Cruelty, utilizing an array of unsettling sounds, cries, screams and grunts, it was shelved by French Radio the day before it was scheduled to air, on February 2, 1948. Artaud died one month later.

Jacques Baron (1905-1986)

Baron was the youngest of the early surrealists, contributing prose and poetry to both Littérature and La Révolution Surréaliste. Among his published works are L'Allure poetique (1924), Charbon de mer (1935) and Le Noir de l'azur (1946). Unfortunately, little of Baron's writing has been translated into English.

Jacques-André Boiffard (1903-1961)

Along with Paul Eluard and Roger Vitrac, Boiffard co-wrote the preface to the first issue of La Révolution Surréaliste in 1924. He also contributed accounts of dreams and automatic texts to the review. Developing an interest in photography, he became Man Ray's assistant during the late 1920s, and provided images for André Breton's novel Nadja in 1928, as well as for Georges Bataille's periodical Documents (1929-30). By the 1940s, Boiffard left photography and surrealism behind, becoming a medical doctor, with an emphasis in radiology.

André Breton  (1896-1966)

Breton was Surrealism's guiding force, remaining faithful to the movement's principles until his death. Along with Louis Aragon and Philippe Soupault, he founded the avant-garde review Littérature (1919-24), which served as an official Dada publication during its early years, before shifting direction and paving the path toward Surrealism. In 1924, Breton launched a new periodical La Révolution Surréaliste (1924-29), while writing his first Manifesto of Surrealism. He also played an important role in establishing the Bureau of Surrealist Enquiries in Paris, as well as a Surrealist art gallery. In addition to his numerous theoretical works, such as Surrealism and Painting (1926) and a second Manifesto of Surrealism in 1929, Breton wrote an extensive amount of poetry, prose and automatic writing. His best known novels are Nadja (1928), Communicating Vessels (1932) and Mad Love (1937), while his books of automatic writing include The Magnetic Fields (1919; with Philippe Soupault), Soluble Fish (1924) and The Immaculate Conception (1930; with Paul Eluard). Perhaps his most famous poem is Free Union, written in 1931 for his lover Suzanne.

Luis Buñuel (1900-1983)

One of the most important directors in film history, Buñuel developed close friendships with Salvador Dalí and Federíco Garcia Lorca during his student years in Madrid, before joining the Paris Surrealists in 1929. Un chien andalou (1929) and L'Age d'Or (1930), both co-written with Dalí, are classics of Surrealist cinema. His later films, including El (1952), The Exterminating Angel (1962), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) and The Phantom of Liberty (1974) remain faithful to the surrealist spirit, containing a savage sense of humor and a revolt against bourgeois traditions. In addition to collaborating on most of his important film scripts, Buñuel wrote an autobiography My Last Sigh (1982), as well as several shorter prose pieces, which were eventually gathered in the collection An Unspeakable Betrayal (first published in 1995). Illegible, the Son of a Flute, a story begun in 1928 and revised twenty years later, is among his most memorable efforts as a writer.

René Char (1907-1988)

A French poet, Char joined the Surrealist movement in 1929, collaborating with André Breton and Paul Eluard on the collection Ralentir Travaux: Slow Under Construction in 1930. By the middle of the decade, he began to distance himself from the group. Among his other publications are Arsenal (1929), Artine (1930) and Le marteau sans maitre (1934).

Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978)

Best known as a painter, whose work greatly influenced later Surrealist artists, de Chirico also wrote essays, stories and a novel. A Letter to Andre Breton (1922) appeared in the pages of Littérature, while Dream (1924) was featured in La Révolution Surréaliste. De Chirico's novel Hebdomeros (1929) is regarded by some as one of the major works of surrealist fiction.

René Crevel (1900-1935)

Crevel was a Surrealist writer and poet, who sometimes felt at odds with other group members, due to his homosexuality. He wrote several novels, including Detours (1924), My Body and I (1925), Difficult Death (1926), Babylon (1927) and Putting My Foot in It (1933). Crevel committed suicide at the age of 35.

Salvador Dalí (1904-1989)

Dalí is perhaps the most recognizable figure in the history of Surrealism, known for his remarkable paintings, such as The Lugubrious Game (1929), The Great Masturbator (1929) and The Persistence of Memory (1931). He created in a wide variety of different mediums, producing memorable sculptures, holographs, photography, clothing, jewelry, stage scenery and film scripts. He even designed and oversaw the construction of the Dream of Venus, a surrealist funhouse at the 1939 World's Fair, as well as the Dalí Theatre and Museum in his home town of Figueres. Along with all of this, Dalí was an excellent writer. Among his most important books are the autobiographical The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí (1942), Diary of a Genius (1964) and Open Letter to Salvador Dalí (1966). He also wrote a collection of prose Oui (1927-33), a novel Hidden Faces (1944) and several theoretical works, including Fifty Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship (1948) and Dali on Modern Art (1957). In 1973, The Unspeakable Confessions of Salvador Dalí, a book of "confessions" as told to Andre Parinaud, was published.

Robert Desnos (1900-1945)

"Desnos, more than any of us, got closest to the Surrealist truth," wrote André Breton in his first manifesto. A member of the Paris Surrealist group, Desnos was known for putting himself into trances at will, and pouring out spontaneous poems, prophecies and artwork. His poetry collection A la mysterieuse (1926) and novel Liberty or Love (1927) are both important contributions to the movement. La Place De L'Etoile (1928), his only play, stands alongside the works of Antonin Artaud and Roger Vitrac as one of the key Surrealist creations for the theatre, while his film script L'Etoile De Mer (1928), co-written and directed by Man Ray, is a milestone in Surrealist cinema. Other literary works by Desnos include the automatically written Mourning for Mourning (1924) and the poems Les Tenebres (1927). In 1944, due to his involvement in the French Resistance, Desnos was arrested by the Gestapo and transported to Terezin, a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. He died there the following year.

Paul Eluard (1895-1952)

Eluard was a leading poet among the Surrealists, who also wrote The Immaculate Conception (1930), a book of automatic writing, done in collaboration with André Breton. Among his poetry collections are Capital of Pain (1926), Love, Poetry (1929) and La Vie immediate (1932). Eluard wrote an extensive amount of letters throughout his life, most notably to his first wife, Gala, who left him for the artist Salvador Dalí in 1929. Many of these letters, which express an intense passion and longing for his ex-spouse, were later gathered in the book Letters to Gala (first published in English in 1989).

David Gascoyne (1916-2001)

A key figure among the British Surrealist Group, Gascoyne helped organize the First International Surrealist Exhibition in London in 1936. Responsible for some of the earliest examples of surrealist poetry in English, Gascoyne also translated works by several Paris group members, including André Breton, Philippe Soupault, Paul Eluard, Benjamin Péret and Salvador Dalí. His book A Short Survey of Surrealism (1935) was possibly the first comprehensive study of the movement published outside of France. Other important works include the poetry collections Man's Life is this Meat (1936) and Hoelderlin's Madness (1938).

Michel Leiris (1901-1990)

Leiris was a prolific writer of prose, poetry and criticism, contributing several articles to La Révolution Surréaliste. His dream-like story The Cardinal Point was published in 1927, followed by Aurora (1927-28), perhaps his greatest work. After a fall-out with André Breton in 1929, Leiris became co-editor of Georges Bataille's journal Documents (1929-30). He wrote numerous articles on artists, such as Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso. Among Leiris' later books are the autobiographical La Regle du jeu (1948-76), and Nights As Day, Days As Night, a record of personal dreams spanning the years 1923 through 1960.

Georges Limbour (1900-1970)

A French writer and poet, Limbour co-edited, along with Roger Vitrac and René Crevel, the review Aventure during the early 1920s. He joined the Surrealists shortly thereafter, but was officially expelled from the group in 1929. A contributor to Georges Bataille's journal Documents (1929-30), he signed the anti-Breton pamphlet Un Cadavre, along with Vitrac, Leiris and Desnos. Among Limbour's stories translated into English are The Polar Child (1922), Glass Eyes (1924) and The Panorama (1935).

E.L.T. Mesens (1900-1982)

Along with René Magritte and Paul Nogué, Mesens was one of the key figures in the Belgian Surrealist Movement. He organized the first exhibit of surrealist art in Belgium in 1934, and played a substantial role in the first International Surrealist Exhibition in London two years later. In addition to paintings and collages, Mesens wrote an abundant amount of poetry. In 1997, a biography by George Melly, Don't Tell Sybil: An Intimate Memoir of E.L.T. Mesens, was published. Unfortunately, little of Mesens's work has been translated into English.

Max Morise (1900-1973)

During the early 1920s, Morise co-edited the review Aventure with Jacques Baron, Roger Vitrac and René Crevel. Shortly after, he joined the Surrealists, contributing texts to both Littérature and La Révolution Surréaliste. He participated in the group's round table discussions concerning sex in 1928, but was expelled by Breton the following year. Like several other ex-Surrealists, Morise signed the anti-Breton pamphlet Un Cadavre in 1930.

Pierre Naville (1903-1993)

Naville was a member of the Paris Surrealists during the 1920s, co-editing with Benjamin Péret the first issues of La Révolution Surréaliste. He participated in the group's round table discussions concerning sex in 1928, but left shortly after to devote himself fully to communism. Among the author's works from this period are Les Reines de la main gauche (1924) and La Révolution et les Intellectuels (1926). Unfortunately, little of Naville's writing is available in English.

Vitezslav Nezval (1900-1958)

A founding member of the avant-garde group Devetsil during the 1920s, Nezval emerged as one of the most prolific writers in Prague. He frequently made trips to Paris, befriending several of the Surrealists there. With Jindrich Štyrský, Karel Teige and Toyen, the author formed the Surrealist Group of Czechoslovakia in 1934, serving as editor of its journal Surrealismus. Nezval's output includes poetry, prose and experimental plays. Among his works available in English are Edition 69 (1931; with Jindrich Štyrský), Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (1935) and the poetry collection Prague with Fingers of Rain (1936).

Paul Nougé (1895-1967)

Nougé was a leader in the Belgian Surrealist Movement, contributing to Correspondance, a series of pamphlets issued by the group between 1924 and 1926. Along with his colleague, René Magritte, Nougé intermingled with the Paris Surrealists, appearing in a photomontage of the group, published in the final issue of La Révolution Surréaliste in November, 1929. Some of Nougé's poetry and prose, including the stories News in Brief (1924) and In Praise of Seurat or The Divergent Rays (1929) have been translated into English and published by Atlas Press.

Benjamin Péret (1899-1959)

Within the Surrealist group, Péret was the writer most admired, displaying an unrestrained imagination that overflowed with humor and revolt. He remained close friends with André Breton throughout his life. In addition to his prose works, such as Death to the Pigs and the Field of Battle (1922-23), The Elegant Ewe (1924-49) and Mad Balls (1928), Péret also wrote a large amount of poetry, including the collections The Big Game (1928), From Behind the Woodpile (1934), I Won't Swallow That (1936) and Myself Sublime (1936).

Jacques Prévert (1900-1977)

A French poet and screenwriter, Prévert participated in Surrealist activities during the 1920s, though his most famous works were written after his departure from the group. Many of his poems were set to music and sung by prominent French vocalists, such as Edith Piaf and Yves Montand. Among his poetry collections are Paroles (1946), Spectacle (1951) and Rain and Good Weather (1955). As a screenwriter, Prévert often worked with the director Marcel Carné, producing several classic films, including Port of Shadows (1938), Daybreak (1939), The Night Visitors (1942) and The Children of Paradise (1945).

Raymond Queneau (1903-1976)

Queneau was a French poet and novelist who founded the Oulipo during the 1960s. He briefly passed through the Surrealist circle, but was eventually expelled from the group in 1929. Like several other ex-Surrealists, he signed the anti-Breton pamphlet Un Cadavre in 1930. Among Queneau's novels are The Bark Tree (1933), The Last Days (1936), Odile (1937), Children of Clay (1938), Pierrot mon ami (1942), The Skin of Dreams (1944) and Zazie in the Metro (1959). In 1956, Queneau co-wrote a film script, La Mort en ce jardin, which was filmed by Luis Buñuel.

Jacques Rigaut (1898-1929)

Rigaut was associated with the French Dadaists and Surrealists, often writing about suicide with an unsettling sense of humor. His self-titled article Jacques Rigaut appeared in the pages of Littérature in 1920. Other prose works include Lord Patchogue (1926) and The Mirror (1929). True to his word, Rigaut took his own life at the age of 30.


Philippe Soupault (1897-1990)

A French poet, novelist and critic, Soupault was active in Paris Dada and Surrealism, founding the review Littérature with André Breton and Louis Aragon. By the mid 1920s, he began drifting away from Breton's more theoretical and political approach and was expelled from the Surrealist group in 1926. Among his most important works are his collection of automatic writing The Magnetic Fields, done with Breton in 1919, and his novel Last Nights in Paris (1928).

Tristan Tzara (1896-1963)

One of the founders of Zurich Dada during the first World War, Tzara wrote several of the movement's manifestos, as well as the Dada texts The First Heavenly Adventure of Mr. Antipyrine (1916) and Twenty-Five Poems (1918). In 1919, he joined forces with André Breton's circle in Paris, but was eventually splintered from that group with the advent of Surrealism. By 1929, tired of Dada's nihilism, Tzara rejoined Breton and the Surrealists, participating in a number of their activities. The Approximate Man, an epic poem written between 1925 and 1930, is considered by many a poetic masterpiece of Surrealism. Other works from his surrealist period include The Antihead (1933) and Seeds and Bran (1935).

Pierre Unik (1909-1945)

A writer, journalist and screenwriter, Unik participated in Surrealist activities during the 1920s and early 1930s. His story Long Live the Bride! appeared in La Révolution Surréaliste in 1926. A militant Communist, Unik also co-wrote the commentary for Luis Buñuel's film Las Hurdes: Land Without Bread (1932). He died while escaping a concentration camp during World War II.

Jacques Vaché (1895-1919)

During World War I, while recuperating from a shrapnel wound in a military hospital, Vaché met André Breton, then a medical student. The two became close friends and continued a correspondence after Vaché's return to the front lines. In 1919, with the war over, the young poets planned on uniting in Paris to collaborate on a variety of different projects. Unfortunately, Vaché never made it. He had died from an opium overdose shortly before his planned departure. Over the years, kept alive by the animated stories told by Breton, Vaché became an almost mythical figure among the Surrealists. The Magnetic Fields (1919), the first book of automatic writing by Breton & Philippe Soupault, was dedicated to Vaché's memory, while Letters From the Front, a collection of his wartime correspondence to Breton, was published later that year.

Roger Vitrac (1899-1952)

A French Surrealist poet and playwright, Vitrac, along with Antonin Artaud, formed the Alfred Jarry Theatre in Paris during the mid 1920s. Two of Vitrac's best known plays were presented there: The Mysteries of Love (1927) and Victor or The Children Are In Power (1928). After being expelled from the Surrealist group, Vitrac contributed articles and poetry to Georges Bataille's journal Documents (1929-30) and was one of the authors who signed Un Cadavre, a pamphlet directed against André Breton.



Other Writers Associated With Surrealism



Pierre Albert-Birot (1876-1967)

Albert-Birot was founder and editor of the avant-garde periodical SIC (1916-19), which showcased the work of several future Surrealists. A proponent of modernism, he directed the premiere of Guillaume Apollinaire's play The Breasts of Tiresias in 1917, while writing a plethora of highly original prose, poetry and dramatic works. Grabinoulor, perhaps his masterpiece, foreshadowed the type of automatic writing explored by Surrealists during the 1920s. A mammoth effort (six volumes were written over the author's lifetime), the novel brims with humor, philosophy and eroticism, while charting its title character's adventures through time and space. Sadly, little of Albert-Birot's writing is available in English, though the First Book of Grabinoulor was translated and published in 1986.

Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918)

A writer of poetry, short stories, dramatic works and criticism, Apollinaire was a popular figure in the artistic community of Montparnasse in Paris, developing close friendships with Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, Erik Satie, and Marcel Duchamp, among others. A mentor of sorts to a young André Breton, Apollinaire coined the term surrealism in 1917. His play that year, The Breasts of Tiresias, carried on the absurdist tradition of Jarry, while helping pave the path for a Surrealist theater. Among his other published works are an erotic novel Les Onze Mille Verges (1907), a collection of prose The Poet Assassinated (1916), and an experimental book of poetry Calligrammes (1918), inspired by his experiences as a soldier during World War I. Apollinaire died at the age of 38, a victim of influenza.

Georges Bataille (1897-1962)

Bataille was a French writer and philosopher, best known for his erotic novel The Story of the Eye (1928). He published the journal Documents (1929-30), which featured the participation of many dissident surrealists, including Michel Leiris, Robert Desnos, André Masson, and Joan Miró. Bataille was often at odds with André Breton's brand of Surrealism, which he found extremely limited. Breton, by turn, criticized Bataille in his Second Surrealist Manifesto, writing: "Bataille wishes only to consider in the world that which is vilest, most discouraging, and most corrupted." Among Bataille's other works are Blue of Noon (1935), Inner Experience (1943), The Impossible (1962) and The Mother (published posthumously in 1966).

René Daumal (1908-1944)

A French writer, philosopher and poet, Daumal, along with Roger Gilbert-Lecomte, founded the review Le Grand Jeu during the late 1920s. Often encouraged by André Breton to join the Surrealists, Daumal chose to follow his own path, maintaining complete independence. His most famous works are the allegorical novels A Night of Serious Drinking (1938) and Mount Analogue: A Novel of Symbolically Authentic Non-Euclidean Adventures in Mountain Climbing (published posthumously in 1952). Daumal died from tuberculosis at the age of 36.

Roger Gilbert-Lecomte (1907-1943)

Along with René Daumal, Gilbert-Lecomte founded the avant-garde review Le Grand Jeu during the late 1920s. He wrote two collections of poetry: Life Love Death Void and Wind (1933), which received a rave review by Antonin Artaud in the Nouvelle Revue Francaise, and Black Mirror (1934). Like his comrade Daumal, Gilbert-Lecomte died at the age of 36.

Alfred Jarry (1873-1907)

Jarry was a novelist, poet, essayist and philosopher, whose work (and invented science Pataphysics) was an inspiration for countless future surrealists. His trilogy of plays Ubu Roi, Ubu Cuckolded and Ubu in Chains (written during the 1880s and 1890s) was arguably the beginning of absurdist theatre. Mentioned in Jacques Vaché's War Letters to André Breton, Jarry's anarchistic humor and insight set the tone for avant-garde literature during the 20th Century. Among his other works are Caesar Antichrist (1895), Days and Nights (1897), Messalina (1901) and The Exploits and Opinions of Doctor Faustroll, Pataphyscian (published posthumously in 1911).

Comte de Lautréamont (1846-1870)

Lautréamont was a pen name of Isidore Ducasse, a French poet whose only works, Les Chants de Maldoror (1868) and Poesies (1870), had a major influence on the Paris Surrealists. Maldoror, a savage assault on god and humanity, is filled with dream-like images. One of its lines, "as beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting table of an umbrella and a sewing machine" foreshadowed the type of imagery captured in surrealist writing of the 1920s. In 1919, the text of Poesies was published in two successive issues of Littérature, while in 1925, a special edition of the Surrealist magazine Le Disque Vert was dedicated to Lautréamont. Numerous members of the Paris group wrote texts on the poet, including André Breton, Philippe Soupault, René Crevel and Paul Eluard. Among the surrealist artists who created paintings and illustrations inspired by Maldoror are Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, Victor Brauner, Oscar Dominguez, André Masson, Joan Miró and Yves Tanguy.

Federico García Lorca (1898-1936)

Although Lorca was never a member of the Paris Surrealist group, some of his writing is highly surrealist in nature, perhaps influenced by his close friendships with Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí. Poet in New York (1929-30) is among the great collections of surrealist poetry, written while Lorca was a student at Columbia University in New York. During this period, he also wrote Trip to the Moon (1929), a film script that shares a great deal in common with Buñuel's and Dalí's Un chien andalou, and the surrealist plays The Public (1929-30) and Once Five Years Pass (1931). Surrealist imagery also appears in several of Lorca's other poems, including The Martydom of St. Eulalia from the collection Gypsy Ballads (1926-28) and Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias (1935).

Georges Neveux (1900-1982)

A French dramatist and poet, Neveux had a passing relationship with the Paris Surrealists during the mid to late 1920s. He is best known for his play Juliette, or The Key to Dreams (1927), which is set in a dream-like town where all of the residents have lost their memories. In 1938, composer Bohuslav Martinu created an opera based on the story. Among Neveux's other works are Le voyage de Thésée (1943) and an adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1945).

Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes (1884-1974)

An active member of the Paris Dada group, Ribemont-Dessaignes also took part in Surrealist activities during the 1920s, though his involvement with Breton's circle was far more casual. He contributed poetry and articles to numerous periodicals, including Littérature, La Révolution Surréaliste, Le Grand Jeu and Oesophage. Among his published works are a play The Mute Canary (1919), an opera libretto Slzy noze (1928; set to music by Bohuslav Martinu as The Knife's Tears) and several novels, including L'Autruche aux yeux clos (1924), Ariane (1925), Céleste Ugolin (1926) and Clara des jours, Le Bar du lendemain (1927). Attacked in the Second Manifesto of Surrealism, Ribemont-Dessaignes signed the anti-Breton pamphlet Un Cadavre in 1930.

Raymond Roussel (1887-1933)

"Roussel is, along with Lautréamont, the greatest mesmerizer of modern times," wrote André Breton in his Anthology of Black Humor. A poet, novelist, playwright and musician, Roussel's eccentric novel Impressions of Africa (1910) displays a remarkable imagination, overflowing with bizarre ideas and images. Though viewed by the Surrealists as a model example of unrestrained, nearly-automatic creation, Roussel later revealed in How I Wrote Certain of My Books his painstaking approach to writing, involving carefully chosen words based on phonics and puns. In 1912, his stage adaptation of the novel caused an uproar in Paris, gaining the support of several future Dadaists, including Marcel Duchamp. Among Roussel's later works are a novel Locus Solus (1914) and two plays, The Star on the Forehead (1924) and The Dust of the Suns (1926). Breton, Philippe Soupault, Michel Leiris and Salvador Dalí were just a few of the Surrealists who wrote articles about Roussel. In 1938, Dalí titled one of his paintings Impressions of Africa.

Alberto Savinio (1891-1952)

An artist, writer and musician, Savinio was the younger brother of Giorgio de Chirico. Though never officially a member of the Paris Surrealists, his writing was featured in André Breton's Anthology of Black Humor, as well as in an issue of Le Surréalisme au service de la révolution. Initially a composer and pianist, Savinio's early musical performances in Paris (between 1910 and 1914) were described by Apollinaire as "violent assaults on his instrument, leaving broken chips and splinters behind." Soon turning his attention to painting and writing, his creations often explored mythology and dreams, while capturing images of a metaphysical nature, similar in style to that of his brother. Among Savinio's literary works are Songs of Half-Death (1914), Hermaphrodite (1918), The Death of Noibe (1925), Mr. Münster (1943), Psyche (1944) and the autobiographical Tragedy of Childhood (1945). A collection of Savinio's writing in English, The Lives of the Gods, was published by Atlas Press in 1991.


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