A compendium of the French surrealist's major prose writings, from 1936 to 1952, which intriguingly exposes Breton's limitations and datedness along with his besetting enthusiasms. This surrealist exemplar, like his colleagues, sought ``the liberation of the human spirit'' through perceptual experiment. His main literary tool in this was automatism, a method of composition that abandoned the rational in order to discover more intrinsic truths lodged in the unconscious. Breton's desires to ``transform the world,'' to ``change life,'' and to ``reshape the human mind'' were subversively political as well as aesthetic in purpose. But an abiding irony of his wordage is its dogmatism and stiff, bulging verbal edifice in a collection that includes memoir, political and cultural critique, aesthetic credos, public lectures, and all- purpose rants. Though historically a rebel, Breton also conveys the contrary urges of an institution-builder or party stalwart who is indulging in a few too many partisan, chastening pronouncements. In this translation, his style comes across as baroque, with some exceptions, as when the author was inspired to reply to a precocious 12-year-old girl's letter. She asked him, ``Do you think Americans are right to give so much freedom to children or is it better, as in France, to subject them to strict discipline? . . . Do you recommend artists such as Matisse and Picasso to children?'' Called on to radically simplify his position for a child with no prior assumptions, Breton could be fetchingly ingenuous and illuminating. ``Well,'' he conceded, ``if you had been able to question me earlier, you would have found me much more self- confident.'' The paradoxes implied by a once-vernal intelligence, which now come to seem rather Wizard-of-Oz-like, recommend a reconsideration of Breton's work.

Pub Date: May 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8032-1241-0

Page Count: 294

Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1996

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?


From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?