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The Inexhaustible Murmur

  • Lars Iyer
Chapter

Abstract

It is easy to understand Surrealism as a failure-as the moment in which the artistic vanguard could have realised itself. In one sense, its achievements are clear; they fill our museums. But the Surrealists sought something greater: the abolition of an art that would hold itself apart from the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat. Surrealism might seem to have survived only as a style, yet its task was not to change art, but to realise it by freeing it from the artistic field, drawing out the consequences of an artistic obsolescence the Dadaists had already understood, and rendering it political.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Breton, Manifestoes of Surrealism, translated by Richard Seaver and Helen R. Lane (The University of Michigan Press, 1972), 30. Translation amended. Early to late, Blanchot attaches enormous importance to Surrealism. The Work of Fire and The Infinite Conversation contain major essays on Surrealism and there are also important reflections in The Space of Literature. A fuller account of his relationship to Surrealism would have to take account of the implicit rejection of Sartre’s reading of Surrealism in What is Literature?Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Bataille, The Absence of Myth. Writings on Surrealism, translated by Michael Richardson (London and New York: Verso, 1994), 31.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    Breton, Nadja, translated by Richard Howard (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1960), 64.Google Scholar
  4. 17.
    Cohen, Profane Illumination: Walter Benjamin and the Paris of Surrealist Revolution (University of California Press, 1995), 44.Google Scholar
  5. 25.
    Breton, Mad Love, translated by Mary Ann Caws (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987), 36.Google Scholar
  6. 29.
    Guerlac, Literary Polemics: Bataille, Sartre, Valery, Breton (Stanford: Stanford University, 1997), 14.Google Scholar
  7. 62.
    See Clark, The Theory of Inspiration: Composition as a Crisis of Subjectivity in Romantic and Post-Romantic Writing (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1997), 217.Google Scholar
  8. 68.
    Derrida, Politics of Friendship, translated by George Collins (London: Verso Books, 1997), viii.Google Scholar
  9. 70.
    See Derrida, The Gift of Death, translated by David Wills (University of Chicago Press, 1995), 82–115.Google Scholar
  10. 75.
    See Cixous’s Readings: The Poetics of Blanchot, Joyce, Kafka, Kleist, Lispector and Tsvetayeva, translated by Verena Andermatt Conley (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992), 1–27, 75–109. My claim would have to be carefully substantiated.Google Scholar
  11. 76.
    I allude to Deleuze and Guattari’s discussions of becoming-woman in Capitalism and Schizophrenia, vol. 2, A Thousand Plateaus, translated by Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987). See the debate in the part 10 of Deleuze and Guattari: Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers, vol. 3, edited by Gary Genosko (London: Routledge, 2001).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lars Iyer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lars Iyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophical StudiesUniversity of Newcastle upon TyneUK

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