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The Movement's Reception

Originating in France, Surrealism soon spread to every corner of the globe. Painters and poets all over the world were attracted to the Surrealist endeavor, especially those living in Spain and Latin America. At least two of the latter artists, Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró, were destined to play a major part in the movement. An analogous role was reserved for Luis Buñuel, who founded the Surrealist cinema. In addition, Surrealism attracted three poets who would eventually receive the Nobel prize for literature: Vicente Aleixandre, Pablo Neruda, and Octavio Paz. In retrospect, Surrealism cast a long, indelible shadow over most of the twentieth century. Artists and writers who were not affiliated with the movement also benefited—and continue to benefit—from the Surrealist enterprise. Surrealism led to the creation of a new language, a new vision, and a vast body of exciting, innovative works. It revolutionized not only the way we perceive ourselves and the world around us but the way in which we translate this perception into words and images.


Balakian, Anna. Surrealism: The Road to the Absolute. 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. A classic study.

Bohn, Willard. The Rise of Surrealism: Cubism, Dada, and the Pursuit of the Marvelous. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002.

Breton, Andre. Oeuvres complètes. Edited by Marguerite Bonnet et al. Vol. 1. Paris: Gallimard/Pléiade, 1988.

Caws, Mary Ann. The Poetry of Dada and Surrealism: Aragon, Breton, Tzara, Eluard, and Desnos. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1970.

——, ed. Surrealist Poets and Painters: An Anthology. Cambridge, Mass: MIT, 2001. A valuable collection of essays, manifestos, and illustrations.

Chadwick, Whitney. Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement. Boston: Little, Brown, 1985. The basic text on women and Surrealism.

Chénieux-Gendron, Jacqueline. Surrealism. Translated by Vivian Folkenflik. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.

Gale, Matthew. Dada and Surrealism. London: Phaidon, 1997. Primarily devoted to art.

Ilie, Paul. The Surrealist Mode in Spanish Literature: An Interpretation of Basic Trends from Post-Romanticism to the Spanish Vanguard. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1968. A basic text on Spanish Surrealism.

Matthews, J. H. Toward the Poetics of Surrealism. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1976. One of many books on Surrealism by a prolific author.

Morris, C. B. Surrealism and Spain, 1920–1936. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1972. A basic text on Spanish Surrealism.

Willard Bohn

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Stomium to SwiftsSurrealism - In The Beginning, Marvelous Encounters, Later Developments, The Movement's Reception, Bibliography