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Disavowals: Or Cancelled Confessions

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  51 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Memories? Choice morsels. My soul is fragmentary.--from DisavowalsClaude Cahun (1894-1954), born Lucy Schwob, was a poet, performer, resistance fighter, prisoner, Surrealist, "constructor and explorer of objects," photographer, and "queer freak" who invented her life by flaunting the interchangability of roles and playing with the ambivalence of identity. Whether feigning ...more
Paperback, 226 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by MIT Press (MA) (first published 1930)
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Emma
Dec 13, 2012 Emma rated it really liked it
This book is virtually entirely dedicated to the word adventure - Pierre Mac Orlan 1930

One of the most curious spirits of our time - Andre Breton

Part of the surrealist movement, Cahun was little known outside a very small circle of theatrical performers and writers in Paris when Disavowals was published in 1930. It had limited impact, which is understandable given only 500 copies were produced.

I came across Cahun's surrealist photography and writing through her history with Jersey, the little I
...more
Stewart Home
Dec 27, 2011 Stewart Home rated it really liked it
Claude Cahun (1894-1954) is an artist whose posthumous cult reputation overshadows her earlier obscurity. In the English-speaking world she initially emerged into the public eye during the 80s when she became a figure of fascination for queer theorists. Cahun's art world profile has risen steadily in recent years and her photographic work is now perceived as a precursor to Cindy Sherman and others. Although there are arguments over whether Cahun's 'self-portraits' were made by her alone, or were ...more
Tim
May 04, 2014 Tim rated it really liked it
Shelves: queer
I've had this book sitting on my nightstand for a few months, and I'd pick it up and read from it once in a while. Cahun was brilliant with words and word play. Layered meanings woven into the essays, the poems, the snapshots. Cahun is at once both direct and indirect. At times I understood what they were doing, and why, down in my bones. Other parts remained opaque and it will be interesting to see whether that changes if I re-read this. I do think I will re-read it at some point.

As much as Cah
...more
Liz
Dec 22, 2009 Liz rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reading
Cahun purposefully made this book extremely difficult to penetrate. However, she creates a masterpieces of stream of consciousness that provide readers a unique look inside her mind and the nature of relationships, bisexuality, assexuality, God, atheism, Christianity, and many of topics too numerous to name. The photos are intriguing and on the level of many modern photographers, without a doubt. It certainly is reminiscent of Gertrude Stein, but I prefer Cahun's style. I cannot wait to read it ...more
Lau
Feb 02, 2015 Lau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very well written book, by Marcel Schwob's niece, which mixes various genres of literature such as poetry and theatre. This piece of work takes its roots in the surrealism movement, which makes it very diverse. You cannot find any continuity as far as the "story" goes, but most of the themes appear in more than one of the various chapters. It creates a link between them in the most interesting way. I would have liked to read it for myself, though, and not for school, because it is the ...more
Anthony
Apr 15, 2009 Anthony rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
english version of "aveux non avenus", cahun's wild and loose autobiography-- written in prose, verse, letters, surreal proverbs, a self-conducted interview, and in lovely photomontages (these images are the strongest element). her writing style irritated me at first, but soon i became somewhat mesmerized.
Win Scarlett
Nov 14, 2011 Win Scarlett rated it really liked it
Esoteric Narcissism or Narcissistic Esoterism? I can't quite decide, but this experimental autobiography read like a pre-Tumblr ride through beauty and torment. It's very inspirational at times, at times like an adolescent cacophony of pretty words. If you read to be immersed in the experience of Others, this is a good ride.
M. Sarki
Feb 24, 2016 M. Sarki rated it liked it
Personal lukewarm reception to this book and not sure what all the fuss is about. But glad I read it.
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Claude Cahun was a French artist, photographer and writer. Her work was both political and personal, and often played with the concepts of gender and sexuality. She began making photographic self-portraits as early as 1912, when she was 18 years old, and she continued taking images of herself through the 1930s.

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