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SURREALIST WOMEN: An International Anthology
Edited By Penelope Rosemount
Published By University Of Texas/Athlone

Reviewed by Cardinal Cox

Surrealist Women (Surrealist Revolution) available at Amazon.co.uk


Write Dope on Pnuk part 37

Covering around seventy-five years, this book looks at the works of the alternative women’s movement of the twentieth century. From the earliest days (and nights) of the Surrealist movement women were at its heart as producers of texts and art that sprang from dark wells of unknown knowledge. Though at this earliest point they were not concerned (in France) with the suffragette movement as 1) in France they were dominated by conservative elements and 2) they didn’t want to vote, as they were anti-stateists.

From the early movement against Church and authority, the protests continued through the thirties for Black Rights (Nancy Cunard being at that forefront) and as activists during the Spanish Civil War (cf. Mary Low). During World War 2, not all the Surrealists fled Europe. Regine Raufast and Laurence Iche were members of ‘La Main à Plume’ Resistance group.

After the war the formerly Marxist orientated Surrealists of Eastern Europe found themselves unpopular with the authorities in the new Stalinist states, while their counterparts were equally treated with suspicion in the West. Surrealism also started to spread through the non-Western zones of South America and the Middle East.

With the late sixties, the uprising in France, the anti-Vietnam movement, and the growing ecology movement all featured strong Surrealist support and input. Coming up-to-date the Surrealist groups of South America and Eastern Europe have come out from the underground, while in America they provided input to such movements as Earth First! and the anti-Iraq wars protests. About the only twentieth century protest movement that didn’t (according to this book) have a Surrealist female element seems to have been Punk.

This book allows these voices to be heard together, voices that are often as critical of the main direction of the feminist movement as of any other organisation.

 

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