Simulating the marvellous

Psychology - surrealism - postmodernism

By David Lomas

With Jeremy Stubbs

Simulating the marvellous
  • RRP £70.00, NOW £14.00 Hardcover
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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8882-7
  • Pages: 424
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: RRP £70.00, NOW £14.00
  • Published Date: December 2013
  • BIC Category: Art History, History of art, 20th century, c 1900 to c 1999, ART / History / Contemporary (1945-), The arts / History of art & design styles: from c 1900 -


Simulating the marvellous presents important new research on Surrealism and the culture from which it arose. Offering fresh interpretations of Surrealist art and literature based around the theme of simulation, the book shows, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, that the notion of simulation arose in a number of discrete contexts, in relation to hysteria and war neuroses; more broadly it shadows the emergence of our concept of 'the unconscious'.

Acknowledging simulation's relevance to Surrealism, this book argues, radically alters our understanding of the Surrealists' project and the terms in which one gauges its success or failure. It leads one to question the naïve assumption that automatic writing or drawing represent an authentic outpouring of the unconscious and gives renewed significance to a figure such as Salvador Dalí who embraced simulation and made it the basis of his art and aesthetic. Resonances are also explored with postmodern theory and art practice, around the themes of simulation and the simulacrum.It also points to one of the ways in which Surrealism chimes with a core preoccupation of contemporary art and theory.

Written accessibly, and ranging across many of the core ideas of Surrealism, David Lomas balances coverage of both Surrealist art and literature, looking at such figures as Dalì, Eluard, Masson, Desnos, Brouillet, Picasso, Tanning and Janet, as well as Glenn Brown, Douglas Gordon and Sarah Lucas. The book will interest not only art historians and theorists, but also students and those with a general interest in Surrealism.


David Lomas is Professor of Art History at the University of Manchester

Jeremy Stubbs is tutor in the University of London Institute in Paris


Prologue: Breton and Dalí: elements of a dialogue
Introduction: Simulation in contexts
PART ONE: Simulating the marvellous
1. Psychological medicine to surrealism
2. Surrealism and the Salpêtrière legacy
3. Convulsive identity: mimicry, magic and hysteria
4. A theatre of hysteria: surrealism and the postmodern turn
PART TWO: Surrealism as simulation
5. Automatism, pastiche, simulation
6. Simulation experiments: science, spiritualism and surrealism
7. Painting the simulacrum
8. Simulacra and the order of mimesis in dalí and glenn brown
Selected bibliography

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