Catalogue

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Pulp surrealism : insolent popular culture in early twentieth-century Paris /
Robin Walz.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2000.
description
xii, 206 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520216199 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2000.
isbn
0520216199 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
3732774
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 183-197) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"A 'wonder cabinet' of a book that brings to vivid life again the ephemeral pleasures of flÂnerie in Paris. Walz is a marvelous guide to the pulp fiction, newspaper sensationalism, and 'disreputable,' fast-disappearing neighborhoods of Paris that the surrealists not only loved but drew on for inspiration in their revolutionary effort to reconfigure human consciousness in early twentieth-century France." Richard Abel, author ofThe CinÉ Goes to Town: French Cinema, 1896-1914andThe Red Rooster Scare: Making Cinema American, 1900-1910 "Robin Walz'sPulp Surrealismrepresents an original and creative approach to the cultural history of the French interwar avant-garde. He shifts our focus away from surrealist texts themselves to the conditions of their production and in the process illuminates in fascinating ways the relationship between surrealism and popular culture." Carolyn Dean, author ofThe Frail Social Body: Pornography, Homosexuality, and Other Fantasies in Interwar France "Pulp Surrealism is the vibrant story of the interplay between avant-garde intellectuals and emerging mass culture in the early years of the twentieth century. In this stimulating history Robin Walz lays bare the many contradictory connections between high and popular culture, and in the process restores to life the brilliant effrontery and joy of the surrealist movement." Tyler Stovall, author ofThe Rise of the Paris Red BeltandParis Noir: African Americans in the City of Light
Flap Copy
"A 'wonder cabinet' of a book that brings to vivid life again the ephemeral pleasures of fl'nerie in Paris. Walz is a marvelous guide to the pulp fiction, newspaper sensationalism, and 'disreputable,' fast-disappearing neighborhoods of Paris that the surrealists not only loved but drew on for inspiration in their revolutionary effort to reconfigure human consciousness in early twentieth-century France." Richard Abel, author of The Ciné Goes to Town: French Cinema, 1896-1914 and The Red Rooster Scare: Making Cinema American, 1900-1910 "Robin Walz's Pulp Surrealism represents an original and creative approach to the cultural history of the French interwar avant-garde. He shifts our focus away from surrealist texts themselves to the conditions of their production and in the process illuminates in fascinating ways the relationship between surrealism and popular culture." Carolyn Dean, author of The Frail Social Body: Pornography, Homosexuality, and Other Fantasies in Interwar France "Pulp Surrealism is the vibrant story of the interplay between avant-garde intellectuals and emerging mass culture in the early years of the twentieth century. In this stimulating history Robin Walz lays bare the many contradictory connections between high and popular culture, and in the process restores to life the brilliant effrontery and joy of the surrealist movement." Tyler Stovall, author of The Rise of the Paris Red Belt and Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-10-01:
Walz's lively volume reexamines the understanding of the cultural context of surrealism through moments that Walz interprets as insolent overflow of everyday life that intersect with the movement. Rather than offering a comprehensive survey, the author concentrates on four episodes: the Opera Passageway depicted in Aragon's Paysan de Paris; the "Fantomas" crime novels; the case (and media carnival) surrounding murders attributed to Henri Landru, the "Bluebeard of Gambais"; and notices of suicides copied from daily newspapers into La Revolution Surrealiste. Walz evokes shimmering resonances between mass print communication in a rapidly changing world and more abstract and artistic themes and practices, although he moves quite rapidly through the subsequent disengagement of these two realms in the 1930s. The author presents individual cases with loving detail, but his inconsistency in developing the relationships of these events to the surrealist movement will make the book difficult for readers who are unfamiliar with the key figures, texts, and language of the surrealists. Still, Walz's novel data raise questions for specialized audiences interested in surrealism and French mass culture. Graduate students through faculty. ; Bryn Mawr College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, October 2000
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Summaries
Long Description
In addition to its more well known literary and artistic origins, the French surrealist movement drew inspiration from currents of psychological anxiety and rebellion running through a shadowy side of mass culture, specifically in fantastic popular fiction and sensationalistic journalism. The provocative nature of this insolent mass culture resonated with the intellectual and political preoccupations of the surrealists, as Robin Walz demonstrates in this fascinating study.Pulp Surrealismweaves an interpretative history of the intersection between mass print culture and surrealism, re-evaluating both our understanding of mass culture in early twentieth-century Paris and the revolutionary aims of the surrealist movement. Pulp Surrealismpresents four case studies, each exploring the out-of the-way and impertinent elements which inspired the surrealists. Walz discusses Louis Aragon'sLe paysan de Paris,one of the great surrealist novels of Paris. He goes on to consider the popular series of FantÔmes crime novels; the Parisan press coverage of the arrest, trial, and execution of mass-murderer Landru; and the surrealist inquiry "Is Suicide a Solution?", which Walz juxtaposes with reprints of actual suicidefaits divers(sensationalist newspaper blurbs). Although surrealist interest in sensationalist popular culture eventually waned, this exploration of mass print culture as one of the cultural milieux from which surrealism emerged ultimately calls into question assumptions about the avant-garde origins of modernism itself.
Main Description
In addition to its more well known literary and artistic origins, the French surrealist movement drew inspiration from currents of psychological anxiety and rebellion running through a shadowy side of mass culture, specifically in fantastic popular fiction and sensationalistic journalism. The provocative nature of this insolent mass culture resonated with the intellectual and political preoccupations of the surrealists, as Robin Walz demonstrates in this fascinating study. Pulp Surrealism weaves an interpretative history of the intersection between mass print culture and surrealism, re-evaluating both our understanding of mass culture in early twentieth-century Paris and the revolutionary aims of the surrealist movement. Pulp Surrealism presents four case studies, each exploring the out-of the-way and impertinent elements which inspired the surrealists. Walz discusses Louis Aragon's Le paysan de Paris, one of the great surrealist novels of Paris. He goes on to consider the popular series of Fantômes crime novels; the Parisan press coverage of the arrest, trial, and execution of mass-murderer Landru; and the surrealist inquiry "Is Suicide a Solution?", which Walz juxtaposes with reprints of actual suicide faits divers (sensationalist newspaper blurbs). Although surrealist interest in sensationalist popular culture eventually waned, this exploration of mass print culture as one of the cultural milieux from which surrealism emerged ultimately calls into question assumptions about the avant-garde origins of modernism itself.
Main Description
This is a vibrant cultural history of the interplay between interwar avant-garde intellectuals and emerging mass print culture in early 20th-century France.
Unpaid Annotation
"A 'wonder cabinet' of a book that brings to vivid life again the ephemeral pleasures of flanerie in Paris. Walz is a marvelous guide to the pulp fiction, newspaper sensationalism, and 'disreputable, ' fast-disappearing neighborhoods of Paris that the surrealists not only loved but drew on for inspiration in their revolutionary effort to reconfigure human consciousness in early twentieth-century France." Richard Abel, author of "The Cine Goes to Town: French Cinema, 1896-1914 and "The Red Rooster Scare: Making Cinema American, 1900-1910 "Robin Walz's "Pulp Surrealism represents an original and creative approach to the cultural history of the French interwar avant-garde. He shifts our focus away from surrealist texts themselves to the conditions of their production and in the process illuminates in fascinating ways the relationship between surrealism and popular culture." Carolyn Dean, author of "The Frail Social Body: Pornography, Homosexuality, and Other Fantasies in Interwar France"Pulp Surrealism is the vibrant story of the interplay between avant-garde intellectuals and emerging mass culture in the early years of the twentieth century. In this stimulating history Robin Walz lays bare the many contradictory connections between high and popular culture, and in the process restores to life the brilliant effrontery and joy of the surrealist movement." Tyler Stovall, author of "The Rise of the Paris Red Belt and "Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light
Table of Contents
Illustrations and Tablesp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. xi
Introduction On Surrealism and Popular Culturep. 1
The Opera Passageway and Aragon's Le Paysan De Parisp. 13
The Popular Novel as Modern Mythologyp. 42
The Dark Humor of Henri Désiré Landru, the Bluebeard of Gambaisp. 76
Surrealist Questions and Fait-divers Responsesp. 114
Appendix: Translations of Short Suicide Faits Divers in the First Issue of La Révolution Surréalistep. 141
Conclusion: On the Popular Dynamism of Mass Culturep. 144
Notesp. 157
Bibliographyp. 183
Indexp. 199
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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