04 July 2004

Max Ernst's Collage Novels

The invaluable Giornale Nuovo has a new post about Max Ernst's collage novels (and an older post about Une Semaine de Bonte, ou, Les Sept Elements Cardinaux (A Week of Kindness, or, the Seven Deadly Elements), his greatest such novel, which is available in a good online version).

These images have influenced various artists, writers, and filmmakers, including China Mieville, who called it "The best comic strip of all time. The best illustrated book of all time. The best sustained work of surrealism of all time. A magisterial whodunwhat, full of little deaths and high adventure, insurrection and freedom."

Some people wonder if such a thing as Une Semaine de Bonte can really be categorized as a novel. I don't tend to worry about it, but if I did, I might suggest that "novel" is different from "collage novel", although I can't at the moment think of any reason why the distinction matters. It is what it is, and what it is is wonderful.

Update: Giornale Nuovo continues to explore Ernst's collages.