|French literary history|
Philippe Soupault (2 August 1897 – 12 March 1990) was a French writer and poet, novelist, critic, and political activist. He was active in Dadaism and later was instrumental in founding the Surrealist movement with André Breton. Soupault initiated the periodical Littérature together with writers Breton and Louis Aragon in Paris in 1919, which, for many, marks the beginnings of Surrealism. The first book of automatic writing, Les Champs magnétiques (1920), was co-authored by Soupault and Breton.
In 1927 Soupault, with the help of his then wife Marie-Louise, translated William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience into French. The next year, Soupault authored a monograph on Blake, arguing the poet was a "genius" whose work anticipated the Surrealist movement in literature.
In 1933 at a reception at the Soviet Embassy in Paris, he met Ré Richter, and they decided to do some travel reportage together. Ré Richter's photographs, taken with her 6x6 Rolleiflex, were to be published alongside Philippe Soupault's literary texts. In the years thereafter, the two of them continued in the same vein, travelling to Germany, Switzerland, England, Scandinavia and Tunisia. They married in 1937 and the couple separated after the end of the war; he moved back to Europe, and she remained in New York for some time.
Soupault directed Radio Tunis from 1937 to 1940, when he was arrested by the pro-Vichy regime. After imprisonment by the Nazis in Tunis during World War II, he and his wife fled to Algiers. From there, they traveled to the United States. He took a teaching position at Swarthmore College, but returned subsequently to France in October 1945. His works include large volumes of poetry such as Aquarium (1917) and Rose des vents (Compass Card) (1920) and the novel Les Dernières Nuits de Paris (1928; tr. Last Nights of Paris, 1929).
In 1957, he wrote the libretto for Germaine Tailleferre's opera La Petite Sirène, based on Hans Christian Andersen's tale "The Little Mermaid". The work was broadcast by French Radio National in 1959.
Soupault's short story "Death of Nick Carter" was translated by Robin Walz in 2007, and published in issue 24 of the McSweeney's Quarterly. In 2016, City Lights Bookstore published a book of his essays entitled Lost Profiles : Memoirs of Cubism, Dada, and Surrealism as translated by Alan Bernheimer.
- Aquarium (1917)
- Rose des vents (1919)
- Les Champs magnétiques, (1919, in association with A. Breton)
- L’Invitation au suicide (1921)
- Westwego (1922)
- Le Bon Apôtre (1923, novel)
- Les Frères Durandeau (1924, novel)
- Georgia (1926)
- Le Nègre (1927, novel)
- Les Dernières Nuits de Paris (1928, novel).
- Le Grand Homme (1929, novel)
- Les Moribonds (1934, autobiographical novel)
- Il y a un océan (1936)
- Odes à Londres bombardée (1944)
- Le Temps des assassins (1945, sequel of autobiography)
- Odes (1946)
- L’Arme secrète (1946)
- Message de l'île déserte (1947)
- Chansons (1949)
- Sans phrases (1953)
- Profils perdus (1963)
- Arc-en-ciel (1979)
- Mémoires de l’oubli (1981, autobiography)
- Poèmes retrouvés (1982)
- Philippe Soupault in the Encyclopædia Britannica
- Montagu, J. (2002). The Surrealists. Revolutionaries in Art and Writing 1919–35. London: Tate Publishing
- Keith Aspley,"Blake, William", in Historical dictionary of surrealism. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2010. ISBN 9780810874992 (p. 71)
- bauhaus 100
- Keith Aspley, "Soupault, Philippe", in Historical dictionary of surrealism. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2010. ISBN 9780810874992 (pp. 446–48)
- Media related to Philippe Soupault at Wikimedia Commons