Life and Works of Surrealist Philippe Soupault (1897-1990) Parallel Lives

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This is the first study in English devoted to Philippe Soupault, one of the founder-members of the Surrealist movement. Although he regarded himself primarily as a poet, he also wrote novels, a number of plays, and a heterogeneous set of biographical or critical studies. In addition, his activity in publishing brought him into contact with international authors, and his work as a journalist enabled him to report first-hand on Hitler’s rise to power, and to compare conditions in the Soviet Union and the United States in the early 1930s. This study examines questions of truth and fiction, the reliability of memory, modes of writing, and the problems these pose for biographer and/or critic.


“. . . an excellent critical introduction to Soupault, a scholarly, informative and accessible account. . . . teasing out the many ways in which life and art come together and uncovering the superimposed layers of memory of this long-lived man of letters. This book is the first to appear on Soupault in English and complements, without repeating, scholarly work in French.” – Peter Sharratt

“It offers a unique overview of all Soupault’s disparate output, including poetry, fiction, theatre, journalism and critical works, showing how they are united by major themes such as the interplay between fact and fiction, invention and autobiography. This book will be a reliable reference work for specialists and will served as an excellent introduction to the life and writings of a hitherto somewhat neglected founder member of the surrealist movement.” – Peter Read

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface by Serge Fauchereau
1. The Autobiographical Writings: Histoire d’un Blanc; Apprendre à vivre; Mémoires de l’Oubli; Vingt mille et un jours; Journal d’un fantôme
2. The Poet: Aquarium; Rose des vents; Les Champs magnétiques; Westwego; Georgia; Poésies complètes; The Poetry of the 1940s-1950s; The Twilight Years – Crépuscules and beyond
3. Life as Fiction: Le Bon Apôtre; A la Dérive; Les Frères Durandeau; Voyage d’Horace Pirouelle; En Joue!; Corps perdu/Le coeur d’o; Le Nègre; Les Dernières Nuits de Paris; Le Grand Homme; Les Moribonds
4. The ‘Lives and works’: Henri Rousseau; le Douanier; Lautréamont; William Blake; Jean Lurçat; Paolo Uccello; Charlot; Baudelaire; Eugène Labiche
5. ‘All the World’s a Stage’: S’il vous plaît and Vous m’oublierez; A vous de jouer!; Littérature and La Révolution surréaliste; Ecrits de cinéma; Newspapers, Radio, Television; ‘And all the men and women merely players’
Conclusion; Select bibliography; Index

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