Surrealism: Inside the Magnetic Fields

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Description

A series of personal and historical encounters with surrealism from one of its foremost practitioners in the United States.

"Penelope Rosemont has given us, better than anyone else in the English language, a marvelous, meticulous exploration of the surrealist experience, in all its infinite variety."--Gerome Kamrowski, American Surrealist Painter

One of the hallmarks of Surrealism is the encounter, often by chance, with a key person, place, or object through a trajectory no one could have predicted. Penelope Rosemont draws on a lifetime of such experiences in her collection of essays, Surrealism: Inside the Magnetic Fields. From her youthful forays as a radical student in Chicago to her pivotal meeting with André Breton and the Surrealist Movement in Paris, Rosemont--one of the movement's leading exponents in the United States--documents her unending search for the Marvelous.

Surrealism finds her rubbing shoulders with some of the movement's most important visual artists, such as Man Ray, Leonora Carrington, Mimi Parent, and Toyen; discussing politics and spectacle with Guy Debord; and crossing paths with poet Ted Joans and outsider artist Lee Godie. The book also includes scholarly investigations into American radicals like George Francis Train and Mary MacLane, the myth of the Golden Goose, and Dada precursor Emmy Hennings.

Praise for Surrealism:

"Rosemont is not delivering dry abstractions, as so many academic 'specialists, ' but telling us about warm and exciting human encounters, illuminated by the subversive spirit of Permanent Enchantment."--Michael Löwy, author of Ecosocialism

"This compelling and well-drawn book lets us see the adventures, inspirations, and relationships that have shaped Penelope Rosemont's art and rebellion."--David Roediger, author of Class, Race, and Marxism

"The broad sampling of essays included here offer a compelling entry point for curious readers and an essential compendium for surrealist practitioners."--Abigail Susik, professor of art history, Willamette University

"Rosemont's welcome memoir has a double virtue, as testament to the enduring radiance of Surrealism, and as a memento to the Sixties, revealing a sweetly beating wonderment at the heart of that absurdly maligned decade."--Jed Rasula, author of Destruction Was My Beatrice: Dada and the Unmaking of the Twentieth Century

"Artist, historian, and social activist, Rosemont writes from the inside out. Like a rare, hybrid flower growing out of the earth, she complicates, expands, and opens the strange and beautiful meadow where Surrealism continues to live and thrive."--Sabrina Orah Mark, author of Wild Milk

"In this wide-ranging collection of essays, Penelope Rosemont, long a keeper of surrealism's revolutionary flame, shows how a penetrating look into the past can liberate the future."--Andrew Joron, author of The Absolute Letter

"Rosemont recreates the feverish antics and immediate reception her close-knit, sleep-deprived, beat-attired squad find in the established, moray-breaking Parisian and international surrealists. Revolution is here, between the covers."--Gillian Conoley, author of A Little More Red Sun on the Human: New and Selected Poems and translator of Thousand Times Broken: Three Books by Henri Michaux

Product Details

Price
$16.95  $15.59
Publisher
City Lights Books
Publish Date
November 12, 2019
Pages
155
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9780872867680

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About the Author

One of the very few Americans welcomed into the Surrealist Movement in Paris by André Breton himself, Penelope Rosemont is a poet, essayist, and visual artist. In the 1960s, in addition to being members of the Industrial Workers of the World and Students for a Democratic Society, she and her late husband Franklin Rosemont co-founded the Chicago Surrealist Group, which published the magazine Arsenal/Surrealist Subversion and the book imprint Black Swan Press. In the 1980s, she became one of the directors of Chicago's historic left-wing press Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company. She has co-edited several surrealist publications, including Free Spirits: Annals of the Insurgent Imagination (City Lights 1982) and The Forecast is Hot! Tracts & Other Collective Declarations of the Surrealist Movement in the United States (Black Swan 1997), and is the editor of the landmark collection Surrealist Women: An International Anthology (Texas 1998). Her writings include two poetry collections Athanor (Black Swan 1971) and Beware of the Ice (Surrealist Editions 1992), the essay collection Surrealist Experiences (Black Swan 1999), and the memoir Dreams & Everyday Life (Charles Kerr 2008). She has participated in many international exhibitions of surrealism.

Reviews

"The cumulative effect of these [essays] and Rosemont's other historical pieces is the reader's realization that so much of progressive history has disappeared from dominant narratives. ... Rosemont is careful to champion art and joy as well as activism--and she emphasizes that creativity and humor are essential to a true mental revolution. ... Perhaps most poignantly, these encounters add up to an indelible portrait of Ted Joans himself as another revolutionary artist and thinker who had a profound effect on those around him, but who is obscure in the dominant narrative of U.S. culture. Rosemont's collection should go far in restoring Joans and many others to a more equitable 'canon, ' while also reminding us of a time when artists, poets, and activists worked together toward a deeply lived vision of societal change."--Hyperallergic

"In part, this is a memoir of the now 77-year-old American writer and artist Penelope Rosemont's encounters with the giants of surrealism and how those encounters shaped her. But it's also a book of wonderful mini-essays describing and paying tribute to a whole host of largely forgotten, fascinating figures--underground artists, publishers and public dissenters who set the stage for waves of cultural production dedicated, to paraphrase Andre Breton, to hunting down the mad beast of conventionality. In these pages you will meet, for instance, Canadian trailblazing surrealist painter Mimi Parent, a flamboyant expatriate relocated to Paris where she spent her days scorning art world greed and making works like this one, described by Rosemont: 'Another painting, aglow with four different kinds of radiance, portrays a gray sky filled by a gray eagle whose talons reach through the very walls of the Bastille to clutch two frilly female dolls.' Vivid arts writing that makes you yearn to see the work, combined with an insistence that Surrealism and its many spinoffs may still yet lead to the 'transformation of everyday life.' In this book, Rosemont reaffirms the revolutionary potential and enduring practice of the non-hierarchical arts."--Broken Pencil

"Speaking of the Parisian surrealists that she and Franklin Rosemont met in Paris during their visit in 1965-66, Penelope describes them as 'overflowing with poetry, beauty, humor, excitement and life.' Every word applies to this book, a fascinating collection of essays, diary notes, and surrealist reflections. When writing about André Breton and his friends, or about the marvelous surrealist women artists Toyen, Mimi Parent, Leonora Carrington or Jayne Cortez, Penny Rosemont is not delivering dry abstractions, as so many academic 'specialists, ' but telling us about warm and exciting human encounters, illuminated by the subversive spirit of Permanent Enchantment."--Michael Löwy, author of Ecosocialism

"This compelling and well-drawn book lets us see the adventures, inspirations, and relationships that have shaped Penelope Rosemont's art and rebellion."--David Roediger, author of Class, Race, and Marxism

"Anyone seeking to understand contemporary surrealism or the history of surrealism in America and beyond should make their way at once to this book. Penelope Rosemont's remarkable life and legendary body of work lies centrally at the crossroads of surrealism then and now. The broad sampling of essays included here offer a compelling entry point for curious readers and an essential compendium for surrealist practitioners."--Abigail Susik, professor of art history, Willamette University

"Reading Rosemont is like being led by an enchanted guide through the wild fields of Surrealism. Around her neck must be a double lens made out of telescope and magnifying glass through which she studies this glowing, breathless landscape. Artist, historian, and social activist, Rosemont writes from the inside out. Like a rare, hybrid flower growing out of the earth, she complicates, expands, and opens the strange and beautiful meadow where Surrealism continues to live and thrive."--Sabrina Orah Mark, author of Wild Milk

"In this wide-ranging collection of essays, Penelope Rosemont, long a keeper of surrealism's revolutionary flame, shows how a penetrating look into the past can liberate the future. With humor and passion, Rosemont tells the story both of her own engagement with surrealism and of surrealism's relevance to the struggle for social and psychic transformation. Whether addressed to feminism, anarchism, the black power movement, or visual art and poetry, Rosemont's writing, like surrealism itself, sets fire to everything it touches."--Andrew Joron, author of The Absolute Letter

"The looming centenary of Surrealism will be greeted by a boatload of publications, but few will be as heartfelt, spirited, and teeming with the atmosphere conjured by Penelope Rosemont. Her welcome memoir has a double virtue, as testament to the enduring radiance of Surrealism, and as a memento to the Sixties, revealing a sweetly beating wonderment at the heart of that absurdly maligned decade."--Jed Rasula, author of Destruction Was My Beatrice: Dada and the Unmaking of the Twentieth Century

"Written with the quickness, candor, and delight of encounter, Penelope Rosemont's Surrealism: Inside the Magnetic Fields brings surrealism's central figures, Leonora Carrington, Man Ray, Toyen, Andre Breton et al into our field of experience, and out of the stasis of photography and film, where most of us have glimpsed them. Most thrilling, perhaps, is the 60's mimeo-magazine-making coterie of Rosemont and her friends, seeking revolution, disorientation, anything but the banality of the American Midwestern plains. Quite naturally possessing what she calls 'remnants of my healthy beatnik hedonism, ' Rosemont recreates the feverish antics and immediate reception her close-knit, sleep-deprived, beat-attired squad find in the established, moray-breaking Parisian and international surrealists. Revolution is here, between the covers. Anyone who opens this book is invited to the journey, the party, the radicalism that 'must not be grim but a liberation, an increase of pleasure. Otherwise what is the point of it?'"--Gillian Conoley, author of A Little More Red Sun on the Human: New and Selected Poems and translator of Thousand Times Broken: Three Books by Henri Michaux

"Penelope Rosemont recounts her chance encounters with surrealists in Paris, leading her to a life-long adventure in surrealist praxes. These included (and still do!) sharing poetry, stories, art, and games of objective chance with kindred spirits around the globe, some of which she shares with us in these magical pages. As surrealists, we live our lives not as today's external world demands but as our own inner dreams, desires, and imaginations lead. We demand nothing less than the impossible not in some distant utopian future but right here, right now."--Gale Ahrens, author of Lucy Parsons: Freedom, Equality & Solidarity