By Tessel M. Bauduin
This ebook deals a brand new standpoint on a long-debated factor: the function of the occult in surrealism, particularly less than the management of French author André Breton. in line with thorough resource research, this learn info how our realizing of occultism and esotericism, in addition to in their functionality in Bretonian surrealism, replaced considerably over the years from the early Nineteen Twenties to the overdue Fifties.
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Extra info for Surrealism and the Occult: Occultism and Western Esotericism in the Work and Movement of André Breton
3 Both refer to sleep, slumber, hypnosis and the ‘subliminal’ in relation to these sessions. In 1928, Breton dubbed the entire period during which the sessions took place (autumn 1922-spring 1923) l’époque des sommeils, the time of slumbers, and the mental state sommeil hypnotique (hypnotic sleep or slumber). 6 Breton and Soupault had started experimenting with automatic writing in 1919, and by 1924 automatism was considered such a success that Breton established it as the fundamental core of Surrealism in his first Manifesto: SURREALISM, n.
Contemporaries commented on the theatrical qualities of Charcot’s lectures. Not only did they consider hysteria and hypnotic manipulation of it partly, if not entirely, a spectacle, Charcot and his staff did too. 24 By 1922, the time of the surrealist sleeping sessions, the somnambulist had been a fixture in the French cultural landscape for over a century and a half. Even though the concept was losing currency in medical discourse, the somnambulist was still a regular and fashionable cultural presence, not least because of the many fin-de-siècle novels that, in the wake of Charcot, detailed the adventures of young (and lovely) women under the spell of evil magnetisers.
Occultism was not a contained, inward-looking development divorced from other cultural developments. Indeed, it pervaded, for instance, psychiatry and popular culture as well, even as it was in turn informed by it. As the first few chapters will show, if taken rather broadly there are clear traces of an occultation of Surrealism in its first decade as well. This brings us, finally, to the structure of this book. Each chapter covers a particular period, starting with the ‘time of slumbers,’ the early years of the 1920s; followed by the ‘period of reason,’ or the late 1920s and the early 1930s; the ‘Golden Age’ of the 1930s; the period of exile, covering the late 1930s and war years; and finally, in Chapter Five, the late 1940s, with 1947 as its climax and some additional comments about the 1950s.
Surrealism and the Occult: Occultism and Western Esotericism in the Work and Movement of André Breton by Tessel M. Bauduin