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A Book of Surrealist Games

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  559 ratings  ·  47 reviews
This delightful collection allows everyone to enjoy firsthand the provocative methods used by the artists and poets of the Surrealist school to break through conventional thought and behavior to a deeper truth. Invented and played by such artists as André Breton, Rene Magritte, and Max Ernst, these gems still produce results ranging from the hilarious to the mysterious and ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published July 4th 1995 by Shambhala
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Muath Aziz
May 22, 2015 rated it liked it
It was venusy in the taste but when I walked under the umbrella I found out that my lost medicine was back home so I knew back will pack tomorrow 9 am therefore I think.

It's not a dot that seals my lips, it's my light that clicked God's doorbell asking him in Hebrew what's the date. Only to find that clouds were on vacation that day so to the beach I went, then I drowned, going back to the clouds again who were so old that I forgot hi my name is Muath and I know that I told you my name is Muath
Aug 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: entertainment
Uncommon Exercises For the Mind.
In this handy reference guide you’ll find symbolic fish, sensual beaches, and the digits of chance. While away hours over drinks at the bar with “The Exquisite Corpse.” Invite friends to the salon for a soiree of “Questions and Answers.” Write a Dadaist poem for yourself and post it to your neighborhood grocer. Or revisit scenes from Surrealist history with transcripts of moments from games among such early luminaries as Breton, Aragon, Peret. Pictures too, most t
Austin Pierce
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to read this book for years.

I finally bought and read it after being moved by a Magritte exhibit in San Francisco.

I hope to find a likeminded soul who wants to explore these games with me some day.
Madeleine Morales
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
occasionally racist or sexist but mostly full of gems
So what DO surrealists do at parties?
Black wells of Acherontic fear.*


This was fun, in a stumbled-across-a-time-capsule sort of way. Also it has phrases like "magisterial insouciance" and "playful procedures"** scattered throughout the introduction, and how often is anything described in those terms?

Fans of surprises and non sequiturs will probably enjoy this a great deal.

*Thank you, H.P. Lovecraft.

**Conveys an image of a prostate exam where both parties are blasted out of their minds on
Matias Selzer
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Interesting book about surrealist techniques to writting and drawing, among others.
Technically, it is not what i thought.
It has a lot of stories and examples about the games and it is not what i expected.
Vivienne DiFiore
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
rituals of letting things happen of creative potentiality and encounter

dated bigotries present to be sure

a good grounding for a sort method tho
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: physical
Fun ideas for stretching your creativity
Chris Browning
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A glorious little book full of ideas and rare dada/ surrealist contributors. Hugely recommended
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013

A shadow is a shadow all the same.
Make two o'clock with one clock.
Never wait for yourself

Ditch the Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit this holiday season and instead inflict some spicy Surrealist action on your bourgeois family and friends. Of course everyone knows about the Exquisite Corpse, but how about 'Certain Possibilities Relating to the Irrational Embellishment of a City' where players are asked whether they would 'conserve, displace, modify, transform, or suppress certain aspects of a city'
Jul 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Provides a general orientation to the surrealist mindset as well as some games to help you get started with alternative modes of perception.

This book helped remind me how must surrealism relied upon group effort to explore and create ways perceiving and creating. Surrealist as action oriented and not academically contemplative.

Ex: the pseudo-scientific dali instruction - everyone gets a watch set to the same hidden alarm, when the alarm goes off the participants make note of what they see what
Sep 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed
A little pocket-sized compilation of quotes from surrealists, descriptions of games and exercises that they used, and examples of the outcomes of these exercises.
Worth checking out. The endnotes are quality and I hope to be able to follow some of the references to learn more.
Not exactly what I was expecting, hoping for more of a structured game book, but was more free flowing light reference. The quotes and history that were included were fascinating.

If you are interested in theory of play, surr
Mark Bondurant
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The best damn explanation of Surrealism I've ever encountered, and how best to describe it than through the games that defined the movement. Forget the paintings, the poetry, the art, and all the other stuff rich people pass back and forth. This is the stuff that comes straight from their day to day existence. It's how they passed their evenings. I guarantee you'll be wanting to be a surrealist after you read this.
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: informative, art
Excellent toilet shelf read.

All the techniques employed by the Surealists to systematically disorder the senses without drugs are listed in this compendium including sections on both the written word and the visual image. Following these methods can unlock your hidden artistic potential, or, if you are already creative, can send you down unexpected paths that may inspire and provoke.

It is a delightful little tome, every page offering some new example to ponder- throughly recommended
Dec 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all non-conformists
If your shadow's shadow visited a hall of mirrors
The sequel would be postponed indefinitely until the next issue.
Sarah Wizemann
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: art school grads
Though at first glance this book seems pretentious and elitist, it's actually quite the opposite - comprised of such banal exercises as truth or dare and role playing games, it's important to note that these were fresh and innovative ways of looking at the world in the 20s.
Aug 31, 2008 is currently reading it
Recently recieved this as a gift from a friend who visited the Dali museum in Fla. this made me want to re-read the surrealist poems of Benjamin Peret:

Benjamin Peret: Selected Poems From the Hidden Storehouse: Selected Poems (Paperback)
Dustin Reade
May 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
anyone interested in breaking free of the rules of literature, art, or life in general should give this book a once over. THen, if you so desire, cover yourself in black paint and stand out in the backyard watching for UFO's. It will definitely give you a new perspective.
Aydin Mohseni
Mar 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: art, self-help
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and have been having great fun trying out the games,
particularly: the exquisite corpse, the game of definitions, and new superstitions.
Having said that, the book's design, organization, and curation leave much to be desired.
May 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
Good to read, if you want to know about visual, verbal, written games of surrealists. it was a nice surprise to discover that many of those games are actually usual for writing, creative writing courses in the uni.
May 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: arty party people.
Shelves: i-commented
this book has been the basis of years of entertainment for me and my creatively-inclined friends.
Jun 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all mind gamers
So necessary. This book has a lot of "games" designed to make you stop thinking while you act. So much fun.
Jul 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
A fascinating and fun book, but to really enjoy some of the techniques you need more than one person.
Dec 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let's just sit around and play silly games out of this book for the rest of our lives, shall we? Seriously!
Mar 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A must have for parties!
Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
attaching cheerios to glass with round, plastic staples and other things your elbow does while you are unaware....
Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a delightful little book. Pick it up--perhaps "by chance."
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely essential for teaching beginners in creative writing -- also, not a bad book of games to have at your finger tips in a high school English class.... fun and weird.
Michael X
Oct 22, 2009 rated it liked it
A nice little book that has many ways to get the creative juices flowing. A fun read with writings and artwork from Surrealists throughout.
Dead Poet
Mar 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It would have been much better to read with others.
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