Surrealism and the Gothic: Castles of the Interior, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Surrealism and the Gothic

Castles of the Interior, 1st Edition

By Neil Matheson


256 pages | 45 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781409432746
pub: 2017-08-17
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315168609
pub: 2017-08-07
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Surrealism and the Gothic is the first book-length analysis of the role played by the gothic in both the initial emergence of surrealism and at key moments in its subsequent development as an art and literary movement. The book argues the strong and sustained influence, not only of the classic gothic novel itself – Ann Radcliffe, Charles Maturin, Matthew Lewis, etc. – but also the determinative impact of closely related phenomena, as with the influence of mediumism, alchemy and magic. The book also traces the later development of the gothic novel, as with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and its mutation into such works of popular fiction as the Fantômas series of Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre, enthusiastically taken up by writers such as Apollinaire and subsequently feeding into the development of surrealism. More broadly, the book considers a range of motifs strongly associated with gothic writing, as with insanity, incarceration and the ‘accursed outsider’, explored in relation to the personal experience and electroshock treatment of Antonin Artaud. A recurring motif of the analysis is that of the gothic castle, developed in the writings of André Breton, Artaud, Sade, Julien Gracq and other writers, as well as in the work of visual artists such as Magritte.

Table of Contents



List of abbreviations

List of figures

Introduction: ‘the start of a venture’

Ch.1 Crossing the Bridge: Surrealism between dream and reality

Ch.2 From the Castle to the Street: Fantômas and the re-enchantment of modern urban life

Ch.3 Gothic Psychology and the ‘humid backroom of Spiritualism’

Ch.4 The Theatre of Blood: Breton and the psychiatrists

Ch.5 Dark Angel of Surrealism: Artaud, electroshock and black magic

Ch.6 Heritage of the Accursed:Magic and occultism in wartime and postwar Surrealism

Ch.7 Return to the Castle: Transgression and Sadean violence in the postwar era

Conclusion: gothic surrealism and the mutation of inner space


About the Author

Neil Matheson is Senior Lecturer in Theory and Criticism of Photography at the University of Westminster, publishing widely on surrealism, photography and contemporary art. Publications include The Sources of Surrealism (2006), joint-editorship of The Machine and the Ghost (2013) and recent essays on Magritte, Ithell Colquhoun and on spirit photography.

About the Series

Studies in Surrealism

Studies in Surrealism
With scholarly interest in Surrealism greater than ever, the Studies in Surrealism series serves as a forum for key areas of Surrealist inquiry today. This series extends the ongoing academic and popular interest in Surrealism, evident in recent studies that have rethought established areas of Surrealist activity and engagement, including those of politics, the object, photography, crime, and modern physics. Expanding and adding various lines of inquiry, books in the series examine Surrealism's intersections with philosophical, social, artistic, and literary themes. Potential subjects to be examined in the context of Surrealism include but are not limited to: nature; queer studies; humor and play; science; theory in the 1950s and 1960s; the New Novel; Surrealist activities beyond Paris. Proposals are welcomed for both monographs and essay collections dealing with the above subjects or with discussions of Surrealism in other aspects and genres. Monographic writings on artists and writers who have been generally overlooked by English-language scholarship (for instance, Victor Brauner, Toyen, Jorge Camacho) would also fall within the scope of this series.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / General
ART / History / Modern (late 19th Century to 1945)
ART / Subjects & Themes / Science Fiction & Fantasy
HISTORY / Modern / General
HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century
LITERARY CRITICISM / Science Fiction & Fantasy
LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 20th Century