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Anthology of Black Humor

Overview

This is the first publication in English of the anthology that contains Breton’s definitive statement on l’humour noir, one of the seminal concepts of Surrealism, and his provocative assessments of the writers he most admired. While some of the authors featured in the Anthology of Black Humor are already well known to American readers—Swift, Kafka, Rimbaud, Poe, Lewis Carroll, and Baudelaire among them (and even then, Breton’s selections are often surprising)—many others are ...

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Overview

This is the first publication in English of the anthology that contains Breton’s definitive statement on l’humour noir, one of the seminal concepts of Surrealism, and his provocative assessments of the writers he most admired. While some of the authors featured in the Anthology of Black Humor are already well known to American readers—Swift, Kafka, Rimbaud, Poe, Lewis Carroll, and Baudelaire among them (and even then, Breton’s selections are often surprising)—many others are sure to come as a revelation.

The entries range from the acerbic aphorisms of Swift, Lichtenberg, and Duchamp to the theatrical slapstick of Christian Dietrich Grabbe, from the wry missives of Rimbaud and Jacques Vache to the manic paranoia of Dalí, from the ferocious iconoclasm of Alfred Jarry and Arthur Craven to the offhand hilarity of Apollinaire at his most spontaneous. For each of the forty-five authors included, Breton has provided an enlightening biographical and critical preface, situating both the writer and the work in the context of black humor—a partly macabre, partly ironic, and often absurd turn of spirit that Breton defined as “a superior revolt of the mind.”

Andre Breton (1896-1966), the founder and principal theorist of the Surrealist movement, is one of the major literary figures of the past century. His best-known works in English translation include Nadja, Mad Love, The Manifestoes of Surrealism, The Magnetic Fields (with Philippe Soupault), and Earthlight. Mark Polizzotti is the author of Revolution of the Mind: The Life of Andre Breton.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780872863217
  • Publisher: City Lights Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 356
  • Sales rank: 785,746
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Laughter In The Dark
Foreword to the 1966 French Edition
Lightning Rod
Jonathan Swift 3
D.-A.-F. de Sade 18
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg 30
Charles Fourier 39
Thomas De Quincey 53
Pierre-Francois Lacenaire 59
Christian Dietrich Grabbe 63
Petrus Borel 75
Edgar Allan Poe 83
Xavier Forneret 89
Charles Baudelaire 98
Lewis Carroll 104
Villiers de l'Isle-Adam 113
Charles Cros 119
Friedrich Nietzsche 129
Isidore Ducasse (Comte de Lautreamont) 132
Joris-Karl Huysmans 144
Tristan Corbiere 155
Germain Nouveau 160
Arthur Rimbaud 164
Alphonse Allais 171
Jean-Pierre Brisset 181
O. Henry 189
Andre Gide 197
John Millington Synge 204
Alfred Jarry 211
Raymond Roussel 226
Francis Picabia 237
Guillaume Apollinaire 241
Pablo Picasso 250
Arthur Cravan 254
Franz Kafka 261
Jakob van Hoddis 274
Marcel Duchamp 277
Hans Arp 283
Alberto Savinio 287
Jacques Vache 293
Benjamin Peret 301
Jacques Rigaut 309
Jacques Prevert 315
Salvador Dali 321
Jean Ferry 329
Leonora Carrington 335
Gisele Prassinos 341
Jean-Pierre Duprey 347
Acknowledgments 354
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