Anna Watz

Surrealism and Feminine Difference

This project explores the intersection of two major feminist traditions that emerged in the 1970s – one intellectual and the other aesthetic. Intellectually, this decade witnessed the rise of French poststructuralist feminist theory, a body of work that sought to understand, theorize, and symbolize that which was seen to have been repressed by the “phallocentric” linguistic order. Aesthetically, while the end of the surrealist movement had been officially declared in the late 1960s (with the death of its founder, André Breton), the 1970s saw the consolidation of women surrealist artists’ and writers’ projects to represent the unconscious in feminine and feminist terms. This project maps the convergences between these two traditions and demonstrates that they were contingent on each other in ways not previously explored. By examining the shared intellectual, political, aesthetic, and methodological approaches of these two bodies of work, the project shows how surrealist principles are inscribed in the very emergence of poststructuralist feminism in the early 1970s. The terms and concepts elaborated by this latter group in turn leave traces in surrealist women’s art and writing from the 1970s onwards. In addition to evidencing these sites of connection, the project, which will result in a monograph titled Surrealism and Feminine Difference, will significantly revise received historiographies of both the surrealist movement and French feminism.
Grant administrator
Linköpings universitet
Reference number
SEK 1,156,500
RJ Sabbatical
General Literature Studies