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
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.