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Obscure Objects of Desire Surrealism, Fetishism, and Politics$
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Johanna Malt

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199253425

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253425.001.0001

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Archaeology and Mythology: Benjamin and Le Paysan de Paris

Archaeology and Mythology: Benjamin and Le Paysan de Paris

Chapter:
(p.41) 2 Archaeology and Mythology: Benjamin and Le Paysan de Paris
Source:
Obscure Objects of Desire Surrealism, Fetishism, and Politics
Author(s):

Johanna Malt

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199253425.003.0003

This chapter deals with the complex affinities between Louis Aragon's fantastical, autobiographical, surrealist philosophical work flânerie, Le Paysan de Paris, and the unfinished Arcades Project of Walter Benjamin. It analyses the possibilities of the uncanny as a way of understanding historical as well as psychical phenomena. Le Paysan de Paris is in many ways the archetypal surrealist text. Combining autobiography and polemic in the form of a sometimes fantastical stroll through Paris's more obscure and insalubrious locations, it is the literary record of surrealism as a lifestyle. Aragon himself was already aware of the appeal of such a form. Towards the end of the text, he reproduces an ironical letter of his own to Philippe Soupault, then editor of the Revue européene in which Le Paysan de Paris was being serialised, describing his intention to present his philosophical views in this form so as not to frighten the reader off.

Keywords:   Louis Aragon, Walter Benjamin, psychical phenomena, surrealist text, autobiography, Paris, surrealism, Philippe Soupault

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