Making the case that J. G. Ballard's fictional and non-fictional writings must be read within the framework of Surrealism, Jeannette Baxter argues for a radical revisioning of Ballard that takes account of the political and ethical dimensions of his work. Ballard's appropriation of diverse Surrealist aesthetic forms and political writings, Baxter suggests, are mobilised to contest official narratives of postwar history and culture and offer a series of counter-historical and counter-cultural critiques. Thus Ballard's work must be understood as an exercise in Surrealist historiography that is politically and ethically engaged. Placing Ballard's illustrated texts within this critical framework permits Baxter to explore the effects of photographs, drawings, and other visual symbols on the reading experience and the production of meaning. Ballard's textual spectacles raise a variety of questions about the shifting role of the reader and the function of the written text within a predominantly visual culture, while acknowledging the visual contexts of Ballard's Surrealist writings allows a very different historical picture of the author and his work to emerge.
’… essential for anyone fascinated by the influence of Surrealism on post-war British culture.’ Arlis
Contents: Introduction; Mapping a surrealist historiography: recontextualising The Drowned World and The Crystal World; Reading The Atrocity Exhibition: a history of forms; Radical surrealism: performance, photography and history in Crash; Convulsive autobiography: negotiating history, memory and fiction in Empire of the Sun and The Kindness of Women; The surrealist Fait Divers: uncovering violent histories in Running Wild, Cocaine Nights, Super-Cannes and Millennium People; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.