iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Surrealism

Play now 45 mins

Surrealism

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 15 November 2001

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss surrealism. ‘Si vous aimez L’amour, vous aimerez Surrealisme!’. If you like Love, you’ll love Surrealism! Thus was the launch of the surrealist manifesto publicised in Paris in 1924. In that document the formerly Dadaist poet André Breton defined his new movement, “Surrealism is pure psychic automatism, by which it is intended to express…the real process of thought. It is the dictation of thought, free from any control by reason and of any aesthetic or moral preoccupation”.

Surrealism is about sex, the unconscious, repression and desire and seems to carry more than a distant echo of the Doctor from Vienna. How much was their notion of ‘pure thought’ influenced by the writings of Sigmund Freud and the new technique of psychoanalysis being developed at the time? Did the surrealists manage to release the secrets and wonders of the human psyche, or was their wild foray into melting clocks, floating euphoniums and automatic writing simply a wasted journey into nonsense?

With Dawn Adiss, Professor of Art History and Theory at the University of Essex; Malcolm Bowie, Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature at Oxford University and a fellow of All Souls College; the psychoanalyst Darian Leader

Broadcasts

Featured in...

  • Culture archive

    Popular culture, poetry, music and visual arts and the roles they play in our society.

  • 20th Century

    Browse the 20th Century era within the In Our Time archive.

In Our Time Downloads

melvyn-bragg.jpg

Every episode of In Our Time - available to download to listen to when & where you want.

Free downloads

  1. Image for In Our Time Archive: Culture

    In Our Time Archive: Culture

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas as it applies to culture - from literature…

  2. Image for In Our Time Archive: History

    In Our Time Archive: History

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the people, conflicts and events that have shaped the world.

  3. Image for In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of philosophy - from ancient Greek thinkers to the…

  4. Image for In Our Time Archive: Religion

    In Our Time Archive: Religion

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of religious ideas - from the faith systems of…

  5. Image for In Our Time Archive: Science

    In Our Time Archive: Science

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas and the evolution of the sciences - from…

  6. Image for In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas - including topics drawn from philosophy,…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.