Margaret Cohen's encounter with Walter Benjamin, one of the twentieth century's most influential cultural and literary critics, has produced a radically new reading of surrealist thought and practice. Cohen analyzes the links between Breton's surrealist fusion of psychoanalysis and Marxism and Benjamin's post-Enlightenment challenge to Marxist theory. She argues that Breton's surrealist Marxism played a formative role in shaping postwar French intellectual life and is of continued relevance to the contemporary intellectual scene.
Profane Illumination Walter Benjamin and the Paris of Surrealist Revolution
About the Book
""This challenging, often profound book investigates the 'visual rhetoric of understanding' manifest in surrealism's and Marxism's 'emancipatory vocabularies' and dream imagery. Drawing upon Walter Benjamin's and Andre Breton's theoretical, critical, and literary writings, Cohen posits a genre of 'Gothic Marxism, ' which owes much to Freud's psychoanalytic oeuvre. This genre links dialectical thinking, dreaming, and historical awakening with political, cultural, and artistic bricolage. . . . [In addition,] the book contains evocative illustrations."—CHOICE