Download A Cavalier History of Surrealism by Raoul Vaneigem PDF

By Raoul Vaneigem

A down-and-dirty survey of the surrealist circulation written by means of best situationist theorist Raoul Vaneigem. Vaneigem’s comic strip bars no holds, blistering on surrealism’s inventive and political aporias, and jam-packed with telling quotations, it supplies admire the place recognize is due, laying off loads of mild on situationist attitudes, damaging and confident, in the direction of their surrealist predecessors.

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32 C H A P T E R 2. CHANGING LIFE THE REFUSAL OF SURVIVAL It is significant that the first Manifesto of Surrealism starts out by denouncing that mode of existence which, to distinguish it from pas­ sionate and multidimensional life, has been called "survival" : So strong is the belief in life, in what is most fragile in life­ real life, I mean-that in the end this belief is lost. Man, that inveterate dreamer, daily more discontent with his lot, has trouble assessing the objects he has been led to use, objects that his nonchalance has brought his way, or that he has earned through his own efforts, almost always through his own efforts, for he has agreed to work, at least he has not refused to try his luck (or what he calls his luckl).

The Surrealists' denun c i ­ ation of oppress i o n w a s well - n i gh continual, and t h e violence o f the ir tone cannot h e l p but arouse our sympathy. The fact remains that these young people, who ought by rights to have turned themselves into theorists and practitioners of the rev­ olutio n of everyday l i fe, were content to be mere artists thereof, wag­ ing a war of mere harassment against bourgeois society as though it fell to the Communist Party alone to mount the main offensive. It thus came about that targets of great moment were chosen without any deep conviction that they ought to be designated as spheres of oppression towards which the proletariat's anger should be directed; i ndeed many a flaming brand hurled by the Surrealists amounted to little more than pyrotech n ics.

Then comes the vinegar-soaked sponge , signalling the contempt of the handsomest of Jesus's ruffianly guards for this tatter­ demalion yearning to be his pretty boy. In other words , the legionary in question, who can hardly have failed to spot the practised hips o f Mary Magdalene a m o n g thp whores crowding around the foot o f the cross , flatly refuses to pay Jesus the hommage of even the tiniest drop of sem­ inal fluid, and in effect pisses in his mouth to underline the point. So . .

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