Skip to main content


The Road to the Absolute

First published in 1959, Surrealism remains the most readable introduction to the French surrealist poets Apollinaire, Breton, Aragon, Eluard, and Reverdy. Providing a much-needed overview of the movement, Balakian places the surrealists in the context of early twentieth-century Paris and describes their reactions to symbolist poetry, World War I, and developments in science and industry, psychology, philosophy, and painting. Her coherent history of the movement is enhanced by her firsthand knowledge of the intellectual climate in which some of these poets worked and her interviews with Reverdy and Breton. In a new introduction, Balakian discusses the influence of surrealism on contemporary poetry.

This volume includes photographs of the poets and reproductions of paintings by Ernst, Dali, Tanguy, and others.

270 pages | 25 halftones | 5.50 x 8.00 | © 1959, 1970, 1986

Art: European Art

Literature and Literary Criticism: Romance Languages

Table of Contents

Introduction to the third edition
Preface to the First Edition
The Signal Lights
1. Out of the Forest of Symbols
2. Lautréamont’s Battle with God
3. Saint-Pol-Roux and the Apocalypse
4. Apollinaire and l’Esprit Nouveau
5. Pierre Reverdy and the Materio-Mysticism of Our Age
The Road
6. Breton and the Surrealist Mind—The Influences of Freud and Hegel
7. The Surrealist Image
8. The Surrealist Object
The Bend in the Road
9. The Post-Surrealism of Aragon and Eluard
10. To Transform the World
11. The World Transformed

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press