Trim: 6 x 9
978-0-8108-5847-3 • Hardback • October 2010 • $185.00 • (£142.00)
978-0-8108-7499-2 • eBook • October 2010 • $175.50 • (£137.00)
Keith Aspley was successively an assistant lecturer, lecturer, senior lecturer, and an honorary fellow of the University of Edinburgh.
This introduction to an intriguing artistic worldview is number 43 in the Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts series. The front matter includes a list of acronyms and abbreviations and a detailed chronology, beginning with those artists considered precursors of surrealism. The introduction gives a detailed, engrossing, comprehensive overview of the surrealist movement and sets the reader or researcher up soundly for the informative entries in the body of the dictionary. Entries include information on artists, writers, organizations, publications, and countries in which significant surrealists lived and worked. Non-English texts referenced within the dictionary are cited in the original language, followed with the English title in parentheses (in italics if a translation exists; in roman if the translation is the author's own rendering of the title). Cross-referencing is indicated by boldface within entries. See and see also references also add alternate points of entry, in some cases voluminously so. For example, the entry for Image gives about 40 see also references. A detailed, 37-page bibliography concludes an informative and interesting work, suitable for academic and large public libraries with strong art programs.
Aspley (French, Univ. of Edinburgh) has written an excellent go-to reference volume that encourages dipping in, browsing, and making connections among writers, painters, poets, filmmakers, and others involved in various artistic arenas relating to surrealism. The introductory essay provides an excellent overview of the movement, as does the separate chronology…. For readers interested in art, performance, and literary movements, this is an excellent reference.
— Library Journal
Despite surrealism's celebration of the subconscious and eschewal of reason, the movement was nevertheless concerned with definitions. André Breton included a dictionary-style entry for surréalisme in his 1924 Manifeste du surréalisme and later explored juxtapositions of the absurd and the mundane in the 1938 Dictionnaire abrégé du surréalisme. To the mountain of literature that seeks to organize the far-reaching intellectual movement, Aspley (honorary fellow, Univ. of Edinburgh) adds this handy volume that organizes the breadth of surrealism into concise entries on artists, writers, artworks, and themes. A chronology highlights events that sparked the surrealist imagination, activities of formal surrealist groups, and exhibitions. An introductory essay and extensive bibliography are included. One of the few English-language reference sources about surrealism published in the last decade, Aspley's dictionary is useful for quick access to key terms and biographies. Summing Up: Recommended.
— Choice Reviews