This is a welcome volume.

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Portrait of Mary Ann CawsMary Ann Caws

Mary Ann Caws

Mary Ann Caws is Distinguished Professor of English, French, and Comparative Literature, and Emerita and Resident Professor at the Graduate School of the City University of New York. She has translated and written on many surrealist writers including André Breton, René Char, Paul Éluard, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso.

cover image of the book The Milk Bowl of Feathers

The Milk Bowl of Feathers

Edited by Mary Ann Caws

Born at the famous Café Voltaire in Zurich in 1916 from the avant-garde Dada movement, Surrealism aimed to free the creative act from rational thought. Max Ernst, André Breton, Tristan Tzara, Paul Éluard, Philippe Soupault, and Louis Aragon created a movement that spread like wildfire, inspiring new, groundbreaking poets, as well as visual artists like René Magritte and Man Ray. As the editor, Mary Ann Caws, says, “Essential to Surrealist behavior is a constant state of openness, of readiness for whatever occurs, whatever marvelous object we might come across, manifesting itself against the already thought, the already lived.”

Here are the gems of this major, mind-bending aesthetic and political movement: works not only by Aragon, Breton, Dalí, René Char, and Robert Desnos, but also by key, often overlooked female Surrealists— Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Mina Loy, Alice Rahon, Gisèle Prassinos, and Kay Sage. The Milk Bowl of Feathers provides a grand picture of this revolutionary movement that shocked the world.

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This is a welcome volume.

Rain Taxi

Mary Ann Caws, distinguished scholar and beloved doyenne of all things surrealist, has edited a slim but utterly delightful volume of essential surrealist writings titled The Milk Bowl of Feathers. It is a collection that delivers new insights into this radical movement with a laser focus, and, importantly, rectifies some past omissions to the surrealist literary canon with a few deft and expert inclusions, namely of women and non-French writers.

Susan Aberth, Words Without Borders
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