Surrealpolitik

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There were 52 results from your search for keyword(s): 'Humor'.

  1. "But I agree that rather than giving out information someone would be able to check, it's better to limit yourself to insinuation. Insinuation doesn't involve saying anything in particular, it just serves to raise a doubt about the person making the denial. For example: 'We are happy to note the explanation, but we understand that Signor Perniketti' -- always keep to Signor, rather than Onorevole or Dottor; Signor is the worst insult in our country -- 'has sent dozens of denials to countless newspapers. This must indeed be a full-time compulsion.' This way, readers become convinced he is paranoid. You see the advantage of insinuation: by saying that Perniketti has written to other newspapers, we are simply telling the truth, which can't be denied. The most effective insinuation is the one that gives facts that are valueless in themselves, yet cannot be denied because they are true."

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 68-69
  2. "Everything that ever gets done in this world is done by madmen," Mr Scogan went on... "People are quite ready to listen to the philosophers for a little amusement, just as they would listen to a fiddler or a mountebank. But as to acting on the advice of the men of reason -- never. Wherever the choice has had to be made between the man of reason and the madman, the world has unhesitatingly followed the madman."

    Source: Crome Yellow, p. 122
  3. "It is impossible to understand how millions and millions of people all obey a sickly collection of gentlemen that call themselves 'Government!' The word, I expect, frightens people. It is a form of planetary hypnosis, and very unhealthy."

    Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 126
  4. "It is signed by Veruccio Veriti. So, what's the point of this denial of a denial? Point number one, that the newspaper has received the information from sources close to Signor Perniketti. This always works. The sources aren't given, but it implies the newspaper has confidential sources, perhaps more reliable than Perniketti. Use is then made of the journalist's notebook. No one will ever see the notebook, but the idea of an actual record tends to inspire confidence in the newspaper and suggests that there is evidence. Lastly, insinuations are made that are meaningless in themselves but throw a shadow of suspicion over Perniketti. Now I don't say all denials have to take this form -- this is just a parody -- but keep in mind the three fundamental elements for a denial of a denial: other sources, notes in the reporter's notebook, and doubts about the reliability of the person making the denial. Understood?"

    "Very good," they replied in chorus.

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 67
  5. "Men are very difficult to understand," said Carmella. "Let's hope they all freeze to death. I am sure it would be very pleasant and healthy for human beings to have no authority whatever. They would have to think for themselves, instead of always being told what to do and think by advertisements, cinemas, policemen and parliaments."

    Source: The Hearing Trumpet, p. 126
  6. 'In the dream I’d be going about a normal day's business and suddenly, with no warning, there'd be the sign. We were a member of the National Automobile Dealer's Association. NADA. Just this creaking metal sign that said nada, nada, against the blue sky. I used to wake up hollering.'

    Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 110-111
  7. 'It is here somewhere,' the Sergeant said, 'or beside a place somewhere near the next place adjacent.'

    Source: The Third Policeman, p. 110
  8. 'Job was a very rich man. He lost all his goods, and all his sons and daughters, and took it all very philosophically. He said, "The Lord gave, the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord." Then he gets covered with boils; and it's only then that his nerve gives way, he's touched personally. He starts his complaint against God at that point only. No question of why his sons should have lost their lives, no enquiries of God about the cause of their fate. It's his skin disease that sets him off.'

    Source: The Only Problem, p. 366
  9. 'This Stilettoed Eel is terrific,' said Chick. 'Where did you get the idea from?'
    'Nicolas had it,' said Colin. 'There's an eel -- or there was an eel, rather -- that used to go into his wash-basin every day through the cold-water tap.'
    'What a funny thing to do,' said Chick. 'Why did it do that?'
    'It used to pop its head out and empty the toothpaste by squeezing the tube with its teeth. Nicolas only uses that American brand with the pineapple flavor, and I don't think it could resist the temptation.'

    Source: Froth on the Daydream, p. 17
  10. A second secret element is the clandestine headquarters, which should consist of a 'tiny number of men' who were willing and prepared to undertake 'more or less concerted action' (Mariën, 1989: 67). As a first task, the group should produce a basic liquid capital required for initiating the campaign. To this purpose, Mariën’s (1989) envisages 'real' terrorist acts:

    "[T]he single opportunity to procure that money obviously consists in getting it there, where it is. [...] A blade against the throat, the threat of some Asian torture as well as hostage-taking would make each bank manager a precious and entirely compliant auxiliary tool. [...] Employees and customers [...] are not at all prepared to resist the onslaught of machine pistols, hand grenades, teargas or, if necessary, flamethrowers." (pp.122, 127)

    Source: Surrealistic communication as symbolic terrorism: The example of Marcel Mariën’s theory of political campaigning, p. 197
  11. All three, the Hausmeister, Max, the park attendant, were aware that Ulrich's father had worn a monocle, and that his name was Ulrich von Hargenau, and that he had died for his fatherland, another euphemism, and that Ulrich and his brother had dropped the von, a gesture that was universally regarded with suspicion and a quite irrational anger. As a rule, people did not drop their von. The Hausmeister, Max, and the park attendant also knew that Ulrich had been up to his neck in left-wing politics, and that as recently as nine months ago he had been involved in a long drawn-out trial in which his evidence had been used by the prosecution to build an airtight case, enabling them to lock up what everyone considered a bunch of ill-mannered agitators. In some quarters there was more outrage about their alleged bad manners than their left-wing rhetoric.

    Source: How German Is It, p. 34
  12. Among the things that distinguished us from the New and Used Left was the fact that we laughed not only at the society of scissorbills and squares, but also at ourselves. We also realized that The Revolution itself was funny. I am absolutely serious. What on Earth could be funnier than overturning 500-odd years of capitalist slavery?

    Source: Dancin' in the Streets, p. 33
  13. Chester Himes's Harlem crime thrillers, and La Reine des pommes in particular, take this parodic ambition to precisely the baroque excesses at which Deleuze hints. Yet in doing so, the novels end up embracing this parody in a very different way, with a complex combination of political anger and a vernacular ear that resonates more with the cultural project of surrealism than with Deleuze's "copy without an original."

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 254
  14. Deleuze's notion of parody refers less to the novels' play on the conventions of the detective story form, however, than to their parodic relation to "the real" itself. He suggests that the novels presuppose the artificiality and even "falsehood" of lived reality, supplanting mimetic representation with the projection of simulacra.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 254
  15. Don Benjamin was hardly three feet tall and as slender and hairy as a bat; it was impossible for him to see what was interesting the groups of people and police over the shoulders of Doña Benjamin, a woman of colossal build, who required two seats in the tram (one for each buttock) and more than eight yards of material for a dress.

    Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 53
  16. Fearing his bed would cool, he hastened past the emptiness of the hall, where a handsome girl stood poised without her clothes on the brink of a blue river. Napoleon peered at her in a wanton fashion from the dark of the other wall.

    Source: At Swim-Two-Birds, p. 32-33
  17. He didn't hear any more because an inordinately lengthy individual, who had been giving a demonstration of speed for the past five minutes, had just slipped through his legs by leaning forward as far as possible and the rush of air that he created lifted Colin several yards above the ground. He clutched at the edge of the first floor gallery, got his balance and after doing a backwards somersault the wrong way round, landed back at the sides of Chick and Lisa.

    'They ought to be stopped from going too fast,' said Colin.

    Then he quickly crossed himself because the culprit had just skated straight into the wall of the restaurant at the other end of the rink and flattened himself against it like a marshmallow jelly-fish picked to pieces by a destructive child.

    The serf-sweepers one again did their duty and one of them planted a cross of ice on the spot where the accident had occurred. As it melted, the Master of Ceremonies played a selection of religious records.

    Then everything went back to normal. And Chick, Lisa and Colin went round and round and round.

    Source: Froth on the Daydream, p. 23-24
  18. He emptied his bath by boring a hole in the bottom of the tub. The light yellow ceramic clay tiles of the bathroom floor sloped in such a way that the water was orientated into an orifice placed directly over the study of the tenant in the flat below. But only a few days previously, without saying a word to Colin, the position of the study had been changed. Now the water went straight into the larder underneath.

    Source: Froth on the Daydream, p. 9-10
  19. Himes's realization that his own social protest novels were themselves entangled in this equilibrium of falsehoods coincides with his abandonment of this form of writing. As he explains in My Life of Absurdity, his turn to a genre in which violence is neither the stuff of tragedy nor perpetually looming as the burden of an ironic fate was itself a protest against the protest novel. Himes writes: "i wanted to break through the barrier that labeled me as a 'protest writer.' I knew the life of an American black needed another image than just the victim of racism." The violence with which Himes populates his detective fiction thus represents a twofold adjustment: first, its multiplication of falsehood within a Harlem teeming with crime and deception gives free rein to the exploration of the "unconscious" desires of Himes's previous novels, which are given no opportunity to distinguish between different kinds of violence...Second, Himes's crime fiction abandons his earlier frustration with the ideological circuit of absurdity and instead embraces it to the extent that these conditions, though oppressive, nevertheless constitute the imaginative fabric of African American life and vernacular culture. Certainly in La Reine des pommes Himes embraces the jokes, dozens, and witticisms, he implicitly condemns in If He Hollers. This double adjustment constitutes Himes's rejection of both Wright's and Sartre's notions of engaged writing in favor of an indulgently disengaged dark humor; removing the responsibility for "real" political action from its presumed place immediately manifest within the text, this humor leaves the question of violent rebellion to simmer in the imagination.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 260-261
  20. Hitherto the marionettes had only laughed, or if they wept it had been with smiling grimaces and without the eloquence given by the tears now trickling down their cheeks and falling in streams on to the stage which had been the scene of so many cheerful farces.

    Don Benjamin thought that the painful element in the drama would make the children cry, and his surprise knew no bounds when he saw them laugh more heartily than before, with wide open mouths and happy expressions. The sight of tears made the children laugh. The sight of blows made the children laugh...However, the little puppet went on for a long time using the device with the syringe, and making the marionettes cry to amuse the children.

    Source: El Senor Presidente, p. 53-54
  21. Humor is not resigned; it is rebellious. It signifies the triumph not only of the ego but also of the pleasure principle. -- Freud

    Source: Dancin' in the Streets, p. 198
  22. Humor, which has long been neglected by many so-called revolutionaries in their attempts to prove to themselves that their intentions are together noble and serious (no doubt also because of the desolation and barrenness of their thinking), ought to be given the recognition it has long deserved and regain its rightful place in the revolutionary struggle.

    Source: Dancin' in the Streets, p. 198
  23. I took Peyote in the mountains of Mexico, and I had a dose of it that lasted me two or three days with the Tarahumara, and at the time those three days seemed like the happiest days of my life.

    I had stopped tormenting myself, trying to find a reason for my life, and I had stopped having to carry my body around.

    I realized that I was inventing life, that that was my function and my raison d'être, and that I suffered when my imagination failed, and Peyote gave it to me.

    A human being stepped forward and drew the Peyote out of me with a blow.

    I made it into real shreds, and the cadaver of a man was torn to shreds and found torn to shreds, somewhere.

    rai da kanka da kum
    a kum da na kum vönoh


    Granting that this world is not the reverse of the other and still less its half, this world is also a real machinery of which I have the controls, it is a true factory whose key is inborn humor.

    sana tafan tana
    tanaf tamafts bai


    Source: The Peyote Dance, p. 82-83
  24. In its abandonment of protest fiction's epistemological and ethical certainty, Himes's writing for the Série Noire reveals a comic affectation consistent with the surrealist notion of l'humour noir, itself a critical intervention into the field of political writing that was hostile to literary and political naturalism. Indeed what Himes's crime writing shares with surrealist thinking of the post-World War II period is its affected indifference to truth and justice, its sympathy with the shared spirit of writers who expunge the expected characteristics of aesthetic or moral value. This helps to explain what Himes meant when he claimed that although he had "no literary relationship with what is called the Surrealist school," and that he "didn't become acquainted with that term until the fifties," nevertheless "it just so happens that in the lives of black people, there are so many absurd situations, made that way by racism, that black life could sometimes be described as surrealistic. The best expression of surrealism by black people, themselves, is probably achieved by blues musicians."

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 247
  25. In its critical project, anti-Menckenist writing attempted to instigate "new principles" through which, as Cowley wrote in 1924, one might discover "that nonsense may be the strongest form of ridicule; that writing is often worst when it is most profound, saintly or devoted and best when it is approached in a spirit of play; that associational processes of thought often have more force than the logical; that defiance carried to the extremes of bravado is more to be admired than a passive mysticism" ("Communications" 140–41)

    Source: Anti-Menckenism: Nathanael West, Robert M. Coates, and the provisional avant-garde, p. 521
  26. In our dream, revolution was a joyful jubilee.

    Source: Dancin' in the Streets, p. 40
  27. In some respects the Anti-Poetry Club could be considered the last bow of Maywood Rhapsodism, but it was also the nucleus from which the Rebel Worker group soon emerged. The Club was a souped-up Chicago-style mix of surrealism, Bugs Bunny, the Marx Brothers, Ernie Kovacs, Stan Freberg, and Bob Kaufman's Abomunism, but so heavily spiced with our own humor and revolt that it had a distinctive "flavor" all its own...

    After a few meetings, however, it was clear that the Club had nowhere to go--that every meeting would be the same, that the Anti-Poetry Club was getting to be as boring as the Poetry Club...Several of us circulated a statement dissociating ourselves from those who had turned the Club into a repetitious farce devoid of even the slightest subversive quality.

    Source: Dancin' in the Streets, p. 16
  28. It was always there and MacCruiskeen is certain that it was there even before that.

    Source: The Third Policeman, p. 107
  29. Maia didn't appear to be too upset by the objection and shrugged us off. "I mean the opposite of the eye of the storm or the minister who thunders. For example, Venice is the Amsterdam of the South, sometimes imagination exceeds reality, given that I'm a racist, hard drugs are the first step towards smoking joints, don't make yourself at home, let's stand on ceremony, those who pursue pleasure are always happy, I may be senile but I'm not old, Greek is all maths to me, success has gone to my head, Mussolini did a lot of bad after all, Paris is horrid though Parisians are nice, in Rimini everyone stays on the beach and never sets foot in the clubs."

    "Yes, and a whole mushroom was poisoned by one family. Where do you get all this tripe?" asked Braggadocio.

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 110-111
  30. Neither funny nor especially comic in the generic sense, black humor (l'humour noir) describes the quality of indifference with which certain writers portray acts of injustice, destruction, and evil in their works. this indifference, Breton suggests, is social as well as aesthetic or analytical; it yields a means of perception undistorted by morality or law, and it thus offers, too, a form of intellectual commerce Breton describes as "the mysterious exchange of humorous pleasure between individuals." This pleasure was not necessarily joyful. Indeed in both its prewar and postwar historical contexts, black humor paraded a degree of stylistically and moral recklessness -- a jouissance -- at odds with an era of serious political commitment; yet this exchange of humorous pleasure paradoxically gave voice to unconscious political desires, including forms of anger and unrest otherwise inadmissible to intellectual discourse.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 244
  31. Of all conceivable luxuries, death, in its fatal and inexorable form, is undoubtedly the most costly.

    Source: The Accursed Share, p. 34
  32. Post-colonialism, ethnicity, sexuality and cultural studies are not, of course, innocent of theory. nor do they simply date from its decline. It is rather that they have emerged in full force in the wake of 'pure' or 'high' theory, which for the most part they have put behind them. Not only put behind them, indeed, but served to displace. In some ways, this is an evolution to be welcomed. Various forms of theoreticism (though not of obscurantism) have been cast aside. What has taken place by and large is a shift from discourse to culture -- from ideas in a somewhat abstract or virginal state, to an investigation of what in the 1970s and '80s one would have been rash to call the real world. As usual, however, there are losses as well as gains. Analysing vampires or Family Guy is probably not as intellectually rewarding as the study of Freud and Foucault.

    Source: The Event of Literature, p. ix-x
  33. Rarely was Benjamin able to wean himself from his infatuation with melancholia -- no easy task for a soul so firmly wedded to the redemptive promise of a past whose quintessential feature lay in its premonition of catastrophe. Surrealism did, however, evoke in him an appreciation for the ways by which laughter could crack open the world, exposing the raw nerve-endings of the politicized imagician's zone of struggle -- where "the long-sought image sphere is opened...the sphere, in a word, in which political materialism and physical nature share the inner man." For if surrealism tried to change that sorcery-bundle of mythical representations on which Western culture is based, and did so using images that levered wide contradictions opening the doorway to the marvelous, its own representing had to be both iconic and ironic -- bringing to mind not only Freud's analysis of the unconscious imagery mined and subverted by jokes, but also Mikhail Bakhtin's and Georges Bataille's fascination with anarchist poetics blending the grotesque and the humorous in carnival-like upheavals of degradation and renewal.

    And here I think the Latin American "magical realism" of the novelists and their critics fares poorly. There is truth in Carpentier's claim that the Europeans were forcing open the door to the marvelous in their own society with brutish despair, whereas in the colonies those doors stood ajar if not fully open. But neither in his work nor in that of Arguedas, Asturias, or Garcia Marquez, is, to my mind, the force of laughter and anarchy punctuating the misty realm of the marvelous to be heard. Too often the wonder that sustains their stories is represented in accord with a long-standing tradition of folklore, the exotic, and indigenismo that in oscillating between the cute and the romantic is little more than the standard ruling class appropriation of what is held to be the sensual vitality of the common people and their fantasy life. Yet to the surrealists, precisely because of the acute self-consciousness that went hand in hand with the aforementioned "brutish despair," there lay engraved as axiomatic the wonder and irritation expressed by the nose specialist in Berlin, Wilhelm Fliess, who, upon reading the page proofs of his good friend Dr. Freud's Interpretation of Dreams in the autumn of 1899, complained that the dreams were too full of jokes.

    Source: Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, p. 201-202
  34. She heard him pacing around his office. Unearthly siren-sounds converged on them from all over the night. 'There is a face,' Hilarius said, 'that I can make. One you haven't seen; no one in this country has. I have only made it once in my life, and perhaps today in central Europe there still lives, in whatever vegetable ruin, the young man who saw it. He would be, now, about your age. Hopelessly insane. His name was Zvi. Will you tell the "police", or whatever they are calling themselves tonight, that I can make that face again? That it has an effective radius of a hundred yards and drives anyone unlucky enough to see it down forever into the darkened oubliette among the terrible shapes, and secures the hatch irrevocably above them? Thank you.'

    Source: The Crying of Lot 49, p. 103
  35. Still, writers are not terribly reliable as witnesses for either the defense or the prosecution. They are also not to be relied upon as lovers. They lack patience. They seem to have a certain difficulty in taking pleasure from what they are doing. Like chess players, they are inwardly preparing themselves for the inevitable end game.

    Source: How German Is It, p. 28
  36. The advocates of military action were not required to demonstrate that 9/11 was the opening of a new kind of conflict, rather than an old-style terrorist act on a larger scale. The idea that terrorist organizations could be located and destroyed in the manner of conventional targets was hardly subjected to any public dispute at the outset. (Rare objections came from the distinguished military historian Sir Michael Howard, who urged more painstaking, less cathartic methods, and the former Monty Python star Terry Jones, who first raised the question whether it was possible to make war on an abstract noun.)

    Source: Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction, p. 122-123
  37. The competition was now in full flow, and Fresia intervened once more. 'Why are aspirins different from iguanas? Because have you tried swallowing an iguana?'

    "That's enough," said Simei. "This is schoolboy stuff. Don't forget, our readers aren't intellectuals. They haven't read about the surrealists, who used to make exquisite corpses, as they called them. Our readers would take it all seriously and think we were mad. Come on, we're fooling around, we have work to do."

    Source: Numero Zero, p. 72-73
  38. The eating of one species by another is the simplest form of luxury.

    Source: The Accursed Share, p. 33
  39. The publication of La Reine des pommes in 1958 as an original French novel represents an incarnation of surrealist humour noir insofar as it establishes a continuity between surrealist thinking about language, violence, and revolt, and hard-boiled fiction's stylized abstraction of political and racial experience in the United States. Taking part in a refusal of social realism's presumption of clear vision and a stoic subject, to which Breton's Anthology likewise alludes, Himes's novels seek access to the political and the real only by means of the "dissonant, discordant, always jarring" affect of the noir aesthetic.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 248
  40. The silence in the room was so unusually quiet that the beginning of it seemed rather loud when the utter stillness of the end of it had been encountered.

    Source: The Third Policeman, p. 91-92
  41. Then what is up the lane?

    I cannot say. If he said that eternity was up the lane and left it at that, I would not kick so hard. But when we are told that we are coming back from there in a lift -- well, I, begin to think that he is confusing night-clubs with heaven. A lift!

    Surely, I argued, if we concede that eternity is up the lane, the question of the lift is a minor matter. That is a case for swallowing a horse and cart and straining at a flea.

    No. I bar the lift.

    Source: The Third Policeman, p. 109
  42. This anarchistic anti-campaign, typically ignored by the many historians of the Beat movement, was a scathing satire of Establishment politics and an assertion of the rising new radicalism's sweeping rejection of the entire military-industrial-political swindle.

    Source: Dancin' in the Streets, p. 13
  43. What distinguished the Rebel Worker group from all the other groups that claimed to be against capitalism? What made us so different? The answers are obvious: humor, poetry, and breadth of vision -- which are a large part of what make a revolution revolutionary. Our critique focused not only on Capital, work and the workplace, but also and above all on everyday life. Our aim, as our Philadelphia correspondent Judy Kaplan put it, was "to be revolutionary in everything."

    Source: Dancin' in the Streets, p. 38
  44. What Himes refers to as his own version of surrealism, a vernacular surrealism allied with the blues, thus has less to do with the formal descriptions of surrealist practices found in Breton's manifestoes than with the political legacy of the group in the postwar public domain. This legacy, especially in its infiltration within the "philosophy" of Duhamel's Série Noire, lingered as an insistence on the conflicts and even falsehoods of language, the resistance of writing and its motives to an immediate political use-value...Like Cahun's ideas about surrealist poetry, Himes's black humor contradicts the existentialist faith in African American vernacular forms as means of expression alone, suggesting instead that they "guard their secrets" in order that their political anger, their unconscious, subterranean cachet of revolutionary knowledge and desire, remain open. So too, I contend, does there remain an openness within surrealist discourse more broadly; no longer limited to the active movement, this discourse was distributed throughout postwar intellectual life, and throughout the world, as an intransigent form of political expression as much attuned to the "mysterious exchange of humorous pleasure" as to the objective recognition of social injustice.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 265
  45. Whereas many artists and writers of the postwar surrealist group turned their attention toward ethnography and hermeticism in their investigation of alternative social myths, many of the critics, intellectuals, and popular writers who responded to surrealism centered their attention on the poetics of black humor. For Breton -- and, as we will see, for other figures of the postwar era who might also be considered "black humorists," principally Chester Himes, Marcel Duhamel, and Leo Malet -- the concept was far from an aesthetic or literary-historical category alone. Rather, black humor formed a significant part of postwar French intellectual discourse surrounding the question of writing as a political and ethical practice.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 245
  46. While one of the serf-sweepers was cleaning up the scattered fragments, Colin noticed Chick and Lisa who had just arrived on the other side of the rink. He waved to them, but as they did not see him he set off to meet them without taking the gyrator movement of the rink into account. The result was the rapid formation of a tremendous heap of people rushing to complain. Every second they were joined by a vast agglomeration of others, desperately beating their arms, their legs, their shoulders and their whole bodies in the air before collapsing on to the pile of the first fallen. As the sun had melted the surface of the ice, there was a horrible squelch under the heap of bodies.

    In no time at all ninety per cent of the skaters were on the heap...

    Source: Froth on the Daydream, p. 21-22
  47. Yet you do not have to be a former papist or ex-Oxbridge don to appreciate the oddness of a situation in which teachers and students of literature habitually use words like literature, fiction, poetry, narrative and so on without being at all well equipped to embark on a discussion of what they mean. Literary theorists are those who find this as strange, if not quite as alarming, as encountering medics who can recognise a pancreas when they see one but would be incapable of explaining its functioning.

    Source: The Event of Literature, p. xi-xii
  48. [A]fter ten years of seeing Europe crushed under the boots of fascist murderers and their self-serving political collaborators, the time had come for an even more revolutionary flavor of liberation that had exceeded the fantasies of Marx and Engels -- there was a need for a set of ideas that would totally reorder the very fabric of the universe in the service of freedom, and the Surrealists saw this as the best reason for a renaissance of Romantic socialism and Fourierist poetics. In a postwar political climate dominated by the viciously cynical Jesuit device of 'ends justify means', talk of Fourier introduced two things that were sorely lacking: a blackly humorous critical (and therefore revolutionary) spark and an unwavering dedication to the complete emancipation of human beings. 'Action, even in the rigorous and unquestioned form it takes today for those who fight in the name of liberty, will only be valuable so long as our interpretation of the world...will not have the brakes slammed on it', Breton thundered. The revolutionary poetry of Fourier's socialism was exactly the kind of critical extravagance that a truly free and freedom-respecting society should be able to tolerate and welcome.

    From chapter: Attacks of the Fantastic, Donald LaCoss
    Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 279-280
  49. [Fourier's] Theory of the Four Movements offers detailed accounts of life following this cataclysmic transmogrification. The auroras of the northern and southern circumpolar regions become more active and more frequent, eventually expanding to link together like the rings of Saturn and filling the earth's skies with rippling curtains of colour, light and heat. Over time, the outer edge of the earth's aurora-ring will extend to the corona of the sun, and the ensuing radiation will trigger a magical change in the natural world -- animals will learn to play musical instruments, stars will copulate and spray us all with their sexual fluids, weather patterns will shift, new moons begin to revolve the earth, and the chemical composition of the world's oceans change to 'aigresel', a tart, potable liquid. Even the human body mutates under the rays of the 'northern crown' as human beings overcome the need for sleep and grow taller. Humans will also sprout an 'archibras' ('ancient arm'), a prehensile tail with a sensory organ at its tip that will act as a fifth limb and enable one 'to swim as fast as a fish', to 'reach a branch twelve feet high', to triple one's natural leaping velocity, and to form a revolving, conelike 'inverted parachute by means of which one can fall from a considerable height without risking more than a bruise'.

    From chapter: Attacks of the Fantastic, Donald LaCoss
    Source: Surrealism, Politics and Culture, p. 274-275
  50. [Himes's] method, rather than subsuming its political anger and desire within a singular narrative consciousness, a single "private eye," instead multiplies the inconsistencies of vernacular speech and the confusing vicissitudes of American absurdity. Much like Walter Benjamin's notion of how surrealist photography achieves a "salutary estrangement between man and his surroundings," Himes's absurdist universe blinds the "private" eye in order to give instead "free play to the politically educated eye, under whose gaze all intimacies are sacrificed to the illumination of detail."

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 264-265
  51. [Mr Scogan speaking:] "If you want to get men to act reasonably, you must set about persuading them in a maniacal manner. The very sane precepts of the founders of religions are only made infectious by means of enthusiasms which to a sane man must appear deplorable. It is humiliating to find how impotent unadulterated sanity is. Sanity, for example, informs us that the only way in which we can preserve civilization is by behaving decently and intelligently. Sanity appeals and argues; our rulers persevere in their customary porkishness, while we acquiesce and obey. The only hope is a maniacal crusade; I am ready, when it comes, to beat a tambourine with the loudest, but at the same time I shall feel a little ashamed of myself."

    Source: Crome Yellow, p. 123
  52. [O]ne of the most significant events in the history [former Surrealist Marcel] Duhamel's Série Noire [was] the publication in 1958 of the first "original" novel commissioned specifically for the series, a crime thriller by the expatriate African American novelist Chester Himes, titled La Reine des pommes (or The Five-Cornered Square) [aka Rage in Harlem]. Independently of any formal affiliation with the movement, Himes's foray into crime fiction achieves what might be called a vernacular surrealism, one that registers the effects of his commerce with Duhamel, insofar as Duhamel established a large part of the material and formal conditions of Himes's transformation into a crime writer. This vernacular surrealism is one of the legacies of the movement's interest in crime, significant less for its popularity than for its implicit response to intellectual conditions in France after the Second World War...

    In La Reine des pommes, Himes breaks with the instrumental use of language that characterized both Wright's and, in France, Jean-Paul Sartre's notions of "engaged writing." In its place he develops a violently comic fictional universe to which he later referred in terms of absurdity. Extending linguistic slippage and excess to the level of narrative itself, Himes's crime writing flies doubly in the face of social realism and existentialism by embracing absurdity as both a social condition and a narrative apparatus. At the same time, Himes always stressed that this humor was not a formal invention but something borrowed. That is, what he called "absurdity" was, in the lived experience of black Americans in Harlem, also emphatically real.

    Source: Surrealism and the Art of Crime, p. 246