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Cover for Investigating Sex

Investigating Sex

Surrealist Discussions

Jose Pierre (Editor), Joann Wypijewski (Introduction by), Dawn Ades (Afterword by)


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Are women’s orgasms more intense than men’s? What did André Breton think of homosexuality? Can love be separated from physical desire?

In 1928 a group of surrealist writers and artists held twelve round table discussions to address these questions. Calling them “researches into sexuality,” their bizarre and humorous conversations are now made available in this new edition in all their surreal and salacious detail. Their research spanned the most critical period for surrealism, a time of bitter political disputes, echoed in the intensity of these meetings and in the range of participants, including André Breton, Paul Eluard, Yves Tanguy, Benjamin Péret and Pierre Naville.

Well before the so-called sexual revolution, their erotic exchanges broke sexual taboos and encouraged surrealists to openly share the libidinal themes they explored in their writing and art. In doing so, JoAnn Wypijewski writes in the new introduction, they are revealed as “lovers and prigs, fantasists and humanists, adventurers in mind if not always in flesh—flawed, foolish, brilliant, clangingly sexual human beings.”

Praise For Investigating Sex: Surrealist Discussions

“These discussions are absolutely fascinating.”—Kathy Acker, author of Blood and Guts in High School

“... readers are in for a treat: a cascade of opinion, at times insightful, frequently infuriating, often comedic.”—Zoe Strimpel, The Observer

Verso, 9781844677122, 240pp.

Publication Date: January 16, 2012

About the Author

José Pierre was a playwright, novelist and art historian. He belonged to the postwar Paris surrealist group that formed around André Breton. He was a member of Actual, an archive for the dissemination of the secret history of surrealism.