The Milk Bowl of Feathers
Essential Surrealist Writings
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.
Praise For The Milk Bowl of Feathers: Essential Surrealist Writings…
— 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
New Directions, 9780811227070, 128pp.
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
About the Author
Mary Ann Caws is Distinguished Professor of English, French, and Comparative Literature, and Emerita and Resident Professor at the Graduate School of the City University of New York. She has translated and written on many surrealist writers including André Breton, René Char, Paul Eluard, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso.