Surrealism, Science Fiction and Comics

BookSurrealism, Science Fiction and Comics

Surrealism, Science Fiction and Comics

Liverpool Science Fiction Texts and Studies, 50


May 5th, 2015

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Although the self-definition of Surrealism and the initial defining of science fiction as a genre both took place in the 1920s and the links between the two are manifest, no full study has appeared till now on Surrealism and SF. Across ten original essays, Surrealism, Science Fiction and Comics looks at how the Surrealist movement in France and the USA used, informed, contributed to, and criticised SF from that moment, whilst including discussion of the related genre of comics. Among its aims are a reassessment of Jules Verne in the light of Surrealism and an analysis of the debate in the 1950s on the ‘new’ Anglo-American literature arriving in France. This received, in fact, a mixed reception from the Surrealists of that decade even though writers and intellectuals close to the movement in the 1920s were directly responsible for its success. The book includes further essays on the subsequent impact of Surrealism on SF novelists J.G. Ballard and Alan Burns, and features essays that argue for Salvador Dalí’s closeness to SF in the 1960s and his disagreement with the earlier scientific romance defined by Verne. The chapters that bring in comics range from theoretical discussions of the relation between the original comic strips of Rodolphe Töpffer and the key Surrealist technique of automatism, used in art and writing, through the cybernetic implications of the proto-SF Surrealist ciné-roman ‘M. Wzz…’ of 1929, which has never discussed in any detail before, to the 1948 Vache paintings by René Magritte, inspired by Louis Forton’s strip Les Pieds nickelés. This pioneering set of essays shows how Surrealism from the 1920s to the 1970s did not just receive and adapt SF but impacted the genre in its later manifestations.

Contributors: Gilda Axelroud, Independent Scholar, Oslo Jeannette Baxter, Senior Lecturer, English Literature, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge Barnaby Dicker, Visiting Lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London and University of Wales, Newport Jonathan P. Eburne, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and English, Penn State Elliott King, Assistant Professor of Art History at Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia Gavin Parkinson, Lecturer in European Modernism, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London Joanna Pawlick, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Manchester Julia Pine, Coordinator, Art Collections and Exhibitions, the Aboriginal Art Centre at Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Canada Abigail Susik, Assistant Professor of Art History, Willamette University, Salem, Oregon


'A timely and fascinating collection that raises important contemporary questions and speaks to several disciplines.'
Hugo Frey

'Parkinson has done an admirable job adding details and signposts to the endless journey of Surrealism.'
Laura Winton, Rain Taxi

Author Information

Gavin Parkinson is Lecturer in European Modernism at the Courtauld Institute of Art. His previous books include 'Surrealism, Art and Modern Science: Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Epistemology' (Yale University Press, 2008) and 'The Duchamp Book' (Tate Publishing, 2008).