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CinepoetryImaginary Cinemas in French Poetry$
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Christophe Wall-Romana

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823245482

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823245482.001.0001

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Breton's Surrealism, or How to Sublimate Cinepoetry

Breton's Surrealism, or How to Sublimate Cinepoetry

Chapter:
(p.136) Chapter Five Breton's Surrealism, or How to Sublimate Cinepoetry
Source:
Cinepoetry
Author(s):

Christophe Wall-Romana

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823245482.003.0006

The theoretician and leader of Surrealism, André Breton, was a much deeper cinephile than he has represented. This chapter argues that Breton took over Apollinaire's Surrealism by purging its cinepoetic dimension, replacing the cinema by a host of non-technological constructs such as the Unconscious, automatic writing, the marvellous image, etc. Four sub-arguments are presented: 1) Breton's early experiences with cinema were tainted with queer desire which he evacuated from Surrealism in favour of strict heterosexuality; 2) Breton allied himself with the best cinepoets of the time--Louis Aragon, Philippe Soupault, and Saint-Pol-Roux—although he elided cinema in their poetics in favour of the marvelous; 3) Breton campaigned against other cinepoets such as Cocteau, Paul Dermée, Ivan Goll; 4) Breton knew Epstein's cinepoetic theories and even recycled some of Epstein's formulations in order to define Surrealism. Altogether, this chapter presents a radical new genealogy of Surrealism as based on the erasure and sublimation of cinepoetry, its practitioners and theoreticians.

Keywords:   André Breton, Philippe Soupault, Louis Aragon, Saint-Pol-Roux, Abel Gance, Jean Epstein, Paul Dermée, Surrealism, Homosexuality, Automatism

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