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Author's Note

Commissioned in 1970 by a French publisher who planned to issue a series intended for high-school pupils, this Histoire désinvolte du surréalisme was written in a couple of weeks under the pressure of a contractual deadline. The fact that the original bearer of the name chosen as a pseudonym, “Jules-François Dupuis”, was the janitor of the building where Lautréamont died, and a witness to his death certificate, should be a clear enough sign that this book is not one of those that are particularly dear to my heart; it was merely a diversion.

When the original publisher’s projected series was abandoned, the manuscript was returned to me. It then languished for some years at the house of a friend, who in 1976 showed it to a young publisher of her acquaintance. As a result it was published a year later (Nonville: Paul Vermont). It was reprinted in 1988 (Paris: L’Instant). Perhaps it is fair to say that, despite its polemical character and peremptory tone, it remains a useful “schoolbook” – and one which may steer those just discovering Surrealism away from a certain number of received ideas.


1. History and Surrealism