Surrealist Masculinities offers a fresh exploration of how surrealist visual production was shaped by constructions of gender and sexuality, particularly masculinity, in the 1920s and early 1930s. Amy Lyford builds on feminist critical approaches to surrealism, which have viewed the female body in surrealism as symptomatic of male misogyny; yet she also departs from such work by arguing that representations of an anxious, ambivalent, or perverse masculinity were integral to the movement's critique of France's "return to order" in the years following World War I. This book analyzes surrealist work in relation to the history of surrealism and investigates how surrealist artists and writers appropriated contemporary medical science, advertising, and sexology in their quest to undermine the status quo.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: The Paradox of Surrealist Masculinity
1. Anxiety and Perversion in Postwar Paris
2. The Aesthetics of Dismemberment
3. The Advertisement of Emasculation: André Kertész in Surrealist Paris
4. Man Ray, Lee Miller, and the Photography of Surrealist Sexuality
5. The Lessons of Barbette: Surrealism, Fascism, and the Politics of Sexual Metamorphosis
Conclusion: A Postscript on Masculinity and Reconstruction
Amy Lyford is Associate Professor of Art History at Occidental College.
“Lyford demonstrates the subtle interpretation needed to navigate the complexities raised by issues of masculinity within Surrealism.”—Robert Radford Burlington Magazine
“Tight, richly documented, and does an excellent job of interweaving image, text, and context, no easy task. . . . Lyford has done a remarkable job of demonstrating how complicated surrealism’s relationship was to all forms of normative masculinity.”—Carolyn J. Dean H-France Reviews
"This fascinating and well-researched book explores a little-examined side of Surrealism with rigor and style. Lyford has delved into little-known archives, finding means to put pressure on the gendered relationships within the movement and, most important, on the Surrealists' conceptions and experiences of masculinity. Surrealist Masculinities
will become a classic resource for all scholars of Surrealism and the highly gendered literary and artistic subcultures of early twentieth-century Europe and North America."—Amelia Jones, Professor and Pilkington Chair, University of Manchester