This book aims to investigate Surrealism’s precedents in visual tradition and to explore its influence on contemporary art. Taking the ideational power of vision as their starting point, these thirteen essays apply different perspectives to themes essential to the Surrealist avant-garde — dreams, magic, madness — but also mystic visions, hybridity and the ongoing relevance of syncretic figures as protean germinations of the irrational. The collection opens with a reconsideration of André Breton’s late book, L’Art magique (1957). The other essays cover a wide array of themes, ranging from witches’ iconography in the early modern period to immersive contemporary video installations, while devoting particular attention to specific Surrealism-related topics. Following the file rouge traced by Breton, the possibility of an alternative art-historical narrative clearly emerges.

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