SLL40370 Surrealism: A Global Revolution

Academic Year 2023/2024

What do an umbrella, a sewing machine, and a dissecting table have in common? How did a French poet’s desire to reconcile the irreconcilable forces of the mind reverberate in image and text around the globe? This module will take André Breton’s 1924 Manifesto of Surrealism as a point of departure to discover how Surrealism galvanised painting, poetry, film, and theatre in Europe, the United States, Latin America, and beyond. Recent exhibitions such as the Tate Modern’s Surrealism Beyond Borders (2021) encourage us to redress the power imbalance inherent in viewing Surrealism simply as a European idea, displaced by exile and enhanced by “peripheral stories”. This module, therefore, will consider not only the key catalysts of the surrealist rebellion in Western Europe and how surrealist cultural production was moulded by the different geopolitical contexts of its creators; students will also study examples of Surrealism beyond the conventional canon to consider the intersectional itinerary of a movement that sought to revolutionise our collective perception of reality.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to
- display an in-depth knowledge of the surrealist canon;
- analyse and compare the images and texts produced by surrealist artists from various cultural contexts;
- engage critically with the appropriate primary and secondary works;
- express and defend critical opinions through seminar discussions;
- produce a critical analysis, in an appropriate register and style.
- conceptualise an exhibition, taking into account the roles of academics and curators in shaping the canon.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This module will be taught via lectures and small group seminars. Students will be asked to read selected materials in advance of class in order to stimulate lively conversation. Attendance at all classes is essential. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Students will be asked to write an in-depth critical analysis of an artwork, commenting on its significance within the wider context of Surrealism. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Project: Students will be asked to conceptualise an exhibition on the topic of Surrealism. This will include a minimum 3,5000 word introduction to the exhibition catalogue. End of trimester MCQ n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive written feedback on the critical commentary task which will be invaluable for their preparation of the project. They will be encouraged to consult the module coordinator for advice in preparation of their final project.