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Abstract

In January of 1927, five surrealist artists applied for membership to the French Communist Party (PCF) in a move that seemed contrary to their mission as surrealists.[1] Since the art movement’s founding manifesto in 1924, surrealism had pursued the visceral purity of fantasy and dreams under the leadership of André Breton. The political agenda of the PCF, on the other hand, sought social revolution informed by a Marxist political theory grounded in material reality. Although apparently contradictory, surrealism and communism actually stem from the same source; both are reactions to the misery of the human condition, and both seek to uplift mankind from its adversity through social revolution. What follows is an investigation of both ideologies in an effort to explore the limits of their fundamental consistencies, as well as discover the role—if any—of surrealism within a communist revolution.

[1] Robert Short, "The Politics of Surrealism, 1920-1936," in Surrealism, Politics, and Culture, ed. Raymond Spiteri and Donald LaCoss (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003), 24.

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