Surrealism, History and Revolution

by Simon Baker (Author)
Monographs 372 Pages


This book is a new account of the surrealist movement in France between the two world wars. It examines the uses that surrealist artists and writers made of ideas and images associated with the French Revolution, describing a complex relationship between surrealism’s avant-garde revolt and its powerful sense of history and heritage. Focusing on both texts and images by key figures such as Louis Aragon, Georges Bataille, Jacques-André Boiffard, André Breton, Robert Desnos, Max Ernst, Max Morise, and Man Ray, this book situates surrealist material in the wider context of the literary and visual arts of the period through the theme of revolution. It raises important questions about the politics of representing French history, literary and political memorial spaces, monumental representations of the past and critical responses to them, imaginary portraiture and revolutionary spectatorship. The study shows that a full understanding of surrealism requires a detailed account of its attitude to revolution, and that understanding this surrealist concept of revolution means accounting for the complex historical imagination at its heart.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2012 (July)
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2007. 372 pp., 13 coloured, 77 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Simon Baker (Author)

The Author: Simon Baker is Lecturer in Art History at the University of Nottingham and an editor of the Oxford Art Journal. He writes on surrealism, photography and contemporary art. In 2006 he co-curated the exhibition Undercover Surrealism at the Hayward Gallery.


Title: Surrealism, History and Revolution