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A Cavalier History of Surrealism

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  7 reviews
A down-and-dirty survey of the surrealist movement written by leading situationist theorist Raoul Vaneigem. Vaneigem’s sketch bars no holds, blistering on surrealism’s artistic and political aporias, and packed with telling quotations, it gives respect where respect is due, shedding a great deal of light on situationist attitudes, negative and positive, towards their surre ...more
Paperback, 131 pages
Published July 1st 2001 by AK Press (first published July 1st 1999)
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3.67  · 
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 ·  61 ratings  ·  7 reviews


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Tosh
Apr 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
A very funny book with respect of another political/art/social biting the hand that fed a culture. The Surrealists were such a rag-tag group of visionaries, poets, political observers, and sex manics that it's interesting to see their sons and daughters giving them a push over the cliff. Yet if it wasn't for the Surrealists, a lot of things wouldn't happen - for instance The Situationists.

But to live you got to give that push so you can have room to move and shake it a bit. Since I am the chil
...more
FotisK
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Κυκλοφόρησε στα ελληνικά, ως "Η αντι-ιστορία του Σουρρεαλισμού", εκδόσεις Ελεύθερος Τύπος ...more
Aonarán
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
The beginning of the book says it was written for high school students, but I find it hard to believe they would want or easily be able to read A Cavalier History.

For those unfamiliar with vaneigem's writing, situationist jargon and surrealism in general, this will likely be a difficult read. Or maybe rather a book you just say 'fuck this' to and don't read much of.

For those familiar with all the above, this is a pretty good critique of surrealism - what the fuck were they doing with the communi
...more
xDEAD ENDx
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always felt that Surrealist-inspired anarchists were rather impotent in their words and actions (the latter pretty much just being art), and this book really hits the nail on the head as to way. Contrary to their Dadaist predecessors, the Surrealists left behind the idea of art to destroy art. Thought of within a Hegelian dialectic, Surrealism strives to negate in order to bring forth a progress-bearing synthesis, with no intention of negation for negation's sake (nihilism?). When everyone ...more
Sceox
May 13, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author's introductory note admits the text was a gig, written on a tight deadline, and that it has a "polemical character and peremptory tone". These aspects did lessen my enjoyment of it, but Vaneigem's criticisms are relevant, and the text can be used, as I used it, as a backdrop or jumping-off point for an exploration of some of the more interesting figures of the movement (albeit a bit hard to follow at first for one not familiar with some of the proper names). Or as a sort of guide for ...more
Ian
Mar 01, 2008 added it
Recommended.
Brendan
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
worth reading if the overlapping spheres of surrealism and situationism are of any interest to you.
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Raoul Vaneigem (born 1934) is a Belgian writer and philosopher. He was born in Lessines (Hainaut, Belgium). After studying romance philology at the Free University of Brussels (now split into the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel) from 1952 to 1956, he participated in the Situationist International from 1961 to 1970. He currently resides in Belgium and is the father ...more