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Surrealism, Science Fiction and Comics$
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Gavin Parkinson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381434

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381434.001.0001

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date: 22 October 2018

Accident and Apocalypse in Alan Burns’s Europe After the Rain

Accident and Apocalypse in Alan Burns’s Europe After the Rain

(p.155) 7. Accident and Apocalypse in Alan Burns’s Europe After the Rain
Surrealism, Science Fiction and Comics

Jeannette Baxter

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the alliance of Surrealism and SF in the postwar writings of Alan Burns. From the early apocalyptic novel, Europe After the Rain (1965), through to Celebrations (1967), Babel (1969), Dreamamerika: A Surrealist Fantasy (1972) and Revolutions of the Night (1986), Burns drew on a range of Surrealist techniques (such as collage, montage, exquisite corpse), often assembling his novels out of ‘found’ linguistic material on large table tops. As the titles of two of his novels suggest, the work of Max Ernst features prominently in Burns’s postwar project, but so, too, do the marvellous sculptures of Joan Miro, and the collages of Kurt Schwitters and Pablo Picasso (when speaking of his visual/literary methodologies, Burns frequently invokes Picasso’s dictum: ‘I don’t seek, I find’). Writing from the edges of the British New Wave, and consistently producing collage-texts, which have been labelled ‘extreme’ and ‘unreadable’, Burns’ Surrealist science fictions have been largely neglected by readers and critics alike. Here, these ‘extreme’ surrealisms are returned to the critical foreground so that their significance as critiques of postwar art, literature and culture can be assessed.

Keywords:   collage painting text montage

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