Indirect action: politics and the subversion of identity in Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore's resistance to the occupation of Jersey

Thynne, Lizzie (2010) Indirect action: politics and the subversion of identity in Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore's resistance to the occupation of Jersey. Papers of Surrealism (8). ISSN 1750-1954

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Abstract

This article explores how Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore translated the strategies of their artistic practice and pre-war involvement with the Surrealists and revolutionary politics into an ingenious counter-propaganda campaign against the German Occupation. Unlike some of their contemporaries such as Tristan Tzara and Louis Aragon who embraced Communist orthodoxy, the women refused to relinquish the radical relativism of their approach to gender, meaning and identity in resisting totalitarianism. Their campaign built on Cahun¿s theorization of the concept of `indirect action¿ in her 1934 essay, Place your Bets (Les paris sont ouvert), which defended surrealism in opposition to both the instrumentalization of art and myths of transcendence. An examination of Cahun¿s post-war letters and the extant leaflets the women distributed in Jersey reveal how they appropriated and inverted Nazi discourse to promote defeatism through carnivalesque montage, black humour and the ludic voice of their adopted persona, the `Soldier without a Name.¿

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Depositing User: Lizzie Thynne
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 18:43
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2012 14:55
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/17923
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