“The Surrealist Miracle”

Houghton Library Blog 2015-12-22

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


“Everywhere the hands, heads, eyes, arms and legs of millions are manipulated through abominable choreographics of obligations, restrictions, responsibilities, laws; life itself becomes inside out, upside down, flattened to the pastel walls of bureaucratic insensitivity—what is there left, in all this, of human freedom?”

So begins the preface of Surrealism & Revolution, a brief anthology of meticulously typed-out texts from surrealist and Dada writers, artists, and revolutionaries such as Max Ernst and Leon Trotsky, interspersed with line drawings inspired by surrealist art (and one image replicating a painting of Hieronymus Bosch, often credited as the original surrealist).


The goal of this collection was to introduce surrealism and its revolutionary capabilities (claimed by Franklin Rosemont in the preface) to the United States, where Rosemont states that surrealism has been “systemically lied about by academicians and journalists,” but the youth of America have discovered it nonetheless and will “soon leave the schools, churches & government buildings of this country smouldering in ashes.”  Franklin and his wife, surrealist artist Penelope Rosemont, founded the Chicago Surrealist Group in 1965 after a meeting with the movement’s founder, André Breton, in Paris.  The Rosemonts have gone on to create art and publish extensively about surrealism and other radical political movements, becoming directors of the subversive literature Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company in the 1980s.  Read an interview with Penelope Rosemont here.


This ZTANGI & Solidarity Bookshop copy from Chicago of Surrealism & Revolution joins its counterpart from the Wooden Shoe in London at Harvard.

To learn more, both issues of Surrealism & Revolution can be found in Widener’s collection: the Santo Domingo Collection copy, [Chicago], Ztangi, [1966], along with the previously held copy, London, Wooden Shoe; Coptic P., [1967].

Thanks to Irina Rogova, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.