Skip to main content

FREN 379: Surrealisms

MW 1:25-2:40pm, Dey 302, Prof. Sean Matharoo (

Collaborative study of French and Francophone Surrealist literature and media. The Surrealists process historical traumas by attempting to break free from the real/imaginary binary through formal experimentation. Following some important contextualization by way of Symbolism and Dadaism, we will predominantly focus on the 20th-century Surrealists’ multifarious experiments with the unconscious, which include the embrace of automatic writing, dreamlike language, randomness and chance, and defamiliarization. We will also consider the Internationale Situationniste’s tactics of the dérive and détournement and 21st-century examples of Surrealism.
Readings in French and English translation; films subtitled. Surrealists studied include—but are not limited to—Suzanne Césaire, Abdellatif Laâbi, Michel Leiris, Joyce Mansour, Colette Peignot, and Alain Resnais. *Taught in English. Counts for FREN minor/major.