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The Milk Bowl of Feathers

Essential Surrealist Writings


Mary Ann Caws (Editor)

Our Retail Price:£9.99

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An exciting new collection of the essential writings of surrealism, the European avant-garde movement of the mind’s deepest powers

Originating in 1916 with the avant-garde Dada movement at the famous Café Voltaire in Zurich, surrealism aimed to unleash the powers of the creative act without thinking. Max Ernst, André Breton, Tristan Tzara, Paul Éluard, Philippe Soupault, and Louis Aragon created a movement that spread wildly to all corners of the globe, inspiring not only poetry but also artists like Joan Miro and René Magritte and cinematic works by Antonin Artaud, Luis Bunuel, and Salvador Dalí. As the editor, Mary Ann Caws, says, “Essential to surrealist behavior is a constant state of openness, of readiness for whatever occurs, whatever marvelous object we might come across, manifesting itself against the already thought, the already lived.”

Here are the gems of this major, mind-bending aesthetic, political, and humane movement: writers as diverse as Aragon, Breton, Dalí, René Char, Robert Desnos, Mina Loy, Paul Magritte, Alice Paalen, Gisele Prassinos, Man Ray, Kay Sage, and Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven are included here, providing a grand picture of this revolutionary movement that shocked the world.


“A decisive addition to the Surrealist English library, as it includes short texts by often-overlooked female Surrealists...The Milk Bowl of Feathers book is accessible, delightful, and inexpensive. ” — Joseph Nechvatal, Hyperallergic

“This is a welcome volume.” — Rain Taxi

“A satisfying thrill. ” — The Rumpus

“Mary Ann Caws, distinguished scholar and beloved doyenne of all things surrealist, has edited a slim but utterly delightful volume of essential surrealist writings titled The Milk Bowl of Feathers. It is a collection that delivers new insights into this radical movement with a laser focus, and, importantly, rectifies some past omissions to the surrealist literary canon with a few deft and expert inclusions, namely of women and non-French writers.” — Susan Aberth, Words Without Borders

“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” — Salvador Dali

“Every page should explode, either because of its staggering absurdity, the enthusiasm of its principles, or its typography.” — Tristan Tzara

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    Rene Char, Mary Ann Caws, Tina Jolas, Mary Ann Caws

    Paperback, 1992

    “This is a fine, bilingual edition of the works of one of the great French Surrealists. . . . The translations, by several hands, serve Char well—full of insinuating rhythms and unusual verbal...