By Patrick Lepetit
A profound realizing of the surrealists’ connections with alchemists and mystery societies and the airtight aspirations published of their works
• Explains how surrealist work and poems hired mythology, gnostic ideas, tarot, voodoo, alchemy, and different airtight sciences to search out unexplored areas of the brain and get better misplaced “psychic” and magical powers
• presents many examples of esoteric effect in surrealism, corresponding to how Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon used to be initially titled The bathtub of the Philosophers
Not basically a creative or literary circulation as many think, the surrealists rejected the labels of artist and writer bestowed upon them via outsiders, accepting as an alternative the titles of magician, alchemist, or--in the case of Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo--witch. Their work, poems, and different works have been created to search out unexplored areas of the brain and get better misplaced “psychic” and magical powers. They used artistic expression because the car to achieve what André Breton referred to as the “supreme point,” the purpose at which all opposites stop to be perceived as contradictions. This ideal element is located on the middle of all esoteric doctrines, together with the good paintings of alchemy, and permits verbal exchange with larger states of being.
Drawing on an in depth diversity of writings by means of the surrealists and people of their circle of impact, Patrick Lepetit exhibits how the surrealists hired mythology, gnostic ideas, tarot, voodoo, and alchemy now not easily as reference issues yet as major components in their ongoing investigations into the elemental nature of realization. He presents many particular examples of esoteric effect one of the surrealists, equivalent to how Picasso’s well-known Demoiselles d’Avignon was once initially titled The tub of the Philosophers, how painter Victor Brauner drew from his father’s spiritualist vocation in addition to the Kabbalah and tarot, and the way physician and surrealist writer Pierre Mabille used to be a Freemason occupied with discovering initiatory paths the place “it is feasible to believe a brand new procedure connecting guy with the universe.”
Lepetit casts new gentle at the connection among key figures of the move and the circle of adepts accumulated round Fulcanelli. He additionally explores the connection among surrealists and Freemasonry, Martinists, and the select Cohen in addition to the Grail mythos and the Arthurian brotherhood.
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Extra info for The Esoteric Secrets of Surrealism: Origins, Magic, and Secret Societies
All he has left is “faith in Christ, cigarettes, and the jazz files [he] loves,” and, satirically, “surrealism specifically. ” it will probably were, regardless of all, the tone of those letters that confident Breton to make an introductory speech at an April three, 1927, lecture—reprinted in its entirety in Judas or the Surrealist Vampire—given by way of Jean Genbach (another obvious pseudonym of the defrocked priest). This lecture was once conceived, as defined via the nameless writer of the preface to the reprinted version of devil à Paris, as “a determined try and ‘reenchant’ via transgression, an international that has misplaced its feel of the sacred. ” the fellow, giving this lecture at Adyar Hall,*15 brought himself as a guy “consciously possessed by way of demons,” vacillating among Catholicism—insofar because it was once inheritor to “the Orphic mysteries and the initiatory rites of historic Egypt or even India”—and Satanism, a Satanism within the type of a Clovis Trouille instead of a real transgression (see plate 1). Breton, in his introductory comments at that April three lecture, pointed out Jorris-Karl Huysmans, an outline of Gengenbach that would even be utilized by Jean Decottignies speaking of a “surrealist avatar of Durtal,” the hero of Joris-Karl Huysman’s ebook La-Bas. Gengenbach additionally released a Sapphic novel, l. a. Papesse du diable, below the pseudonym Jehan Sylvius, stated to be cowritten with Robert Desnos, yet this can be uncertain. He additionally wrote numerous mostly autobiographical works, which printed actual inner torment, resembling devil à Paris. In it he makes this confession: I already admitted with out fake disgrace that i used to be a former monastery priest and with all of the insolence attribute of surrealism’s adepts, I lower pyjamas out of a bishop’s cassock. definitely, i wished loads of braveness to assert all this, with no main issue for the skeptical, cynical smiles of these who've been duped through literature, and with no caring approximately all these psychiatrists looking for their subsequent madman. 32 The monastery used because the “black” theater of black lots and sabbaths, of which, after all, he was once by no means responsible, used to be Mont-Saint-Michel, that is particularly consecrated to the vanquisher of the Evil One. Gengenbach, still, have been introduced there on vacation trips whereas nonetheless a scholar via a Dominican who had supplied “lengthy reasons on how thousands of invisible demons roved in our global on account that time started, because the serpent of Genesis seduced Adam and Eve through promising them they might develop into gods. ” it is a Mont-Saint-Michel that oddly echoes the tone of the English gothic novel: underneath the abbey crypts . . . devil lives in an underground fort within the rock the place he has rendezvous at evening with the entire drowned souls from lakes and oceans, suicides, those that were pushed mad via soreness, all these caught in a rut, and all these mestizos and exotics soliciting the following and there within the Montmartre evening golf equipment! This Mont-Saint-Michel that recurs always in Gengenbach’s writings additionally figures within the backdrop of a image present in Breton’s papers, within which Gengenbach, clad in clerical costume, is proudly “enthroned” within the corporation of a really attractive lady.