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Robert Desnos

Surrealism in the Twenty-First Century

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Edited By Marie-Claire Barnet, Eric Robertson and Nigel Saint

« Ce n’est pas la poésie qui doit être libre, c’est le poète. » A legendary figure within the Surrealist movement, Robert Desnos (1900-1945) has left a unique legacy as a poet of distinction, as a ‘dormeur éveillé’ revered by his fellow Surrealists, and as a free spirit par excellence. In celebrating Desnos’s unique creative voice, this book re-evaluates his prominence within and beyond the Surrealist movement, reappraises his status as a poet, and sheds new light on his contribution to the literary and cultural life of his age. The essays in the volume reflect the ongoing vitality and relevance of Desnos’s poetry and the originality of his contribution to the various other forms of expression in which he excelled: journalism, short stories, script-writing and song-writing. Desnos’s extensive writings on art and artists, his active involvement in avant-garde film and his close associations with a number of renowned painters are also addressed. This fresh look at Desnos’s activities and contexts includes an interview with the artist Georges Malkine’s daughter, Fern Malkine-Falvey, and a study of the memoirs of Desnos’s wife, Youki. The volume closes with a rare collection of journalistic writings by Desnos which appeared in Le Soir in the late 1920s and have never appeared in print since their original publication.