The Surrealist Central.
"How oddly this light suffuses the covered arcades FONT> which abound in Paris in the vicinity of the main boulevards and which are rather disturbingly named passages, as though no one had the right to linger for more than an instant in those sunless corridors. A glaucous gleam, seemingly filtered through deep water, with the special quality of pale brilliance of a leg suddenly revealed under a lifted skirt. The great American passion for city planning , imported into Paris by a prefect of police during the Second Empire and now being applied to the task of redrawing the map of our capital in straight lines, will soon spell the doom of these human aquariums. Althought the life that originally quickened them has drained away, they deserve, nevertheless, to be regarded as the secret repositories of several modern myths: it is only today, when the pickaxe menaces them, that they have at last become the true sanctuaries of a cult of the ephemeral, the ghostly landscape of damnable pleasures and professions. places that were incomprehensible yesterday and that tomorrow will never know."Paysan de Paris
"In the shop at the end of the lane these same wares are to be seen in the company of many others: elastic stockings, stockings for sufferers from varicose veins, rubber knickers, douches with bulbs, douches with bags, women's girdles in a choice of pink, red or white, and in rubber, silk or twilled linen, enemas, clysopumps, clysters...etc.... A trilingual placard also announces:
A curious conceit, a wild extravagance is suddenly revealed to us: trusses for Sundays! Art puts in an appearance on the surface of the constrictor disc...A little golden skeleton, composed entirely of those units which human industry can substitute for faulty elements in the divine work without destroying the latter's economy dangles from the ceiling of this bazaar of the bizarre...And how the gods of antiquity on either side of him have been modernized for our benefit! Two little painted statuettes, with rosy flesh and black hair and beard, represent Apollo and Vulcan: but each has an arm or a leg, a head or a belly supplemented by a truss or by articulated joints all achieving the classic gestures of the Belvedere and Etna." Paysan de Paris
"Setting off the slant of this work against Aragon: whereas Aragon persistently remains in the realm of dreams, here it is a question of finding the constellation of awakening. While an impressionistic element lingers on on Aragon ('mythology')--and this impressionism should be held responsible for the many nebulous philosophemes of his book--what matters here is the dissolution of 'mythology' into the space of history. of course that can only happen through the awakening of a knowledge not yet conscious of what has gone before." Konvolut N 1, 9
Click here to order Walter Benjamin's The Arcades Project from Amazon.com