Collection: Philippe Soupault

Philippe Soupault (1897–1990), the son of a prominent and wealthy Parisian doctor, published his first book of poems, Aquarium, with the help of Guillaume Apollinaire, in 1917. Apollinaire introduced Soupault to André Breton, and the two, together with Louis Aragon, were active Dadaists before hoisting the banner of surrealism in 1924, when they identified The Magnetic Fields as the inaugural surrealist text. Excluded from the surrealist movement as “too literary” in 1926, Soupault continued to write poetry and move in artistic circles throughout his life, while also making a career as a journalist, and in the 1930s, together with his wife, the German photographer Ré Richter, he traveled and reported from all over the world. From 1937 to 1940, Soupault directed the antifascist Radio Tunis. Arrested by the collaborationist Vichy government, Soupault spent six months in prison, before escaping to North Africa in 1942. Beginning in 1943, he served as the American press officer, based in New York, for the Free French forces of Charles de Gaulle; his friends in exile included Man Ray, Fernand Léger, Marcel Breuer, and Kurt Weill. After the war, he taught briefly at Swarthmore College. Soupault was a prolific author of novels, plays, essays, memoirs, and poetry, and he translated William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience into French.

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