Dreams & Everyday Life: Andre Breton, Surrealism, the IWW, Rebel Worker, Students for a Democratic Society and the Seven Cities of Cibola in Chicago, Paris & London

Penelope Rosemont


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In 1966, at the age of twenty-three, Penelope Rosemont abruptly left school, quit her job, packed up her furniture, gave up her apartment, bought a one-way ticket to Paris and set out to meet the surrealists. Her traveling companion was a fellow dreamer, Franklin Rosemont. Together, the Rosemonts tracked down the remaining members of the Paris Surrealist Group, including Andre Breton, surrealism's inimitable founder, just months before his death. From there, a marvelous collaborative adventure would unfold, one that ultimately gave birth to the first and most sustained homegrown surrealist formation on American soil: The Chicago Surrealist Group. In Dreams and Everyday Life, Penelope tells the story of the growth and development of the Chicago group, and so much more. A must-read of American countercultural history.

Nationwide campus surveys show that students today regard the 1960s as the most attractive, creative, and effective decade of the past century. Above all, the Sixties introduced an inspiring new radicalism—in truth, many new radicalisms, a visionary spirit, and a strong will to change society.

Recently, however, neo-conservatives, ex-radicals and boring academics have been doing their worst to trivialize and defame those vibrant years when "Freedom Now" and Solidarity were in the wind. Penelope Rosemont's lively first person account captures the true excitement, intellectual passion, high humor, and diversity of the era.

Her story begins in 1964 with the rowdy "Anti-Poetry Club" at Roosevelt University—a group that also included the IWW's Solidarity Bookshop, the journal Rebel Worker, and the legendary Gallery Bugs Bunny.

Among the very few Americans welcomed by André Breton into the Surrealist Group in Paris early in 1966, Penelope and her husband Franklin co-organized the Surrealist Group in Chicago later that year. They collaborated on surrealist publications in Paris, Prague, Amsterdam and many other places, as well as in several of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights anthologies. In Chicago, Paris, New York and London, they also visited old-time Wobblies, surrealists, anarchists, socialists and situationists.

In 1967 Penelope Rosemont joined the National Office Staff of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and took part in its strategies and actions. As a surrealist, and co-editor of the SDS theoretical journal, Radical America, she also played an important role in uniting a radical culture to a radical politics.

ISBN 9780882862842
List price $17.00
Publisher Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company
Year of publication 2008