Max Ernst’s Surrealist Collage Novel – ‘A Week of Kindness’

Finished in just three weeks whilst in Italy in 1933, Ernst’s ‘Une Semaine de Bonte’ or ‘A Week of Kindness’ is a breathtaking series of wood engraved illustrations hijackedĀ from various French popular fiction and periodicals of the late nineteenth century and morphed and warped intoĀ Ernst’s own surrealist iconography. It is split into seven parts, one for each day of the week, and each revolves around one of the seven deadly elements (as opposed to sins). Sunday (mud) is dedicated to one of the surrealist forefathers, Grandville, famed for his animal men (obviously a big influence on Ernst) and as such the first part contains lots of lion-men (psychologist Dieter Wyss suspected this to be an incarnation of the Freudian superego). Monday (water) alludes to Noah’s flood. Tuesday (fire) is day of the dragons and flight; serpentine wings sprout from the backs of the characters. Wednesday (blood) is dedicated to Oedipus and Oedipal drives take the form of great human-birds – LopLop, Ernst’s alter ego and familiar, took such a form on the basis of Freud’s identifying humanity’s age-old fascination with birds in his 1910 ‘Leonardo DaVinci and a Memory of His Childhood’. Ernst was greatly influenced by Freud, and through him found a way of exerting his Oedipal conflict with his father; we might view his famous 1922 ‘Oedipus Rex’ as a kind of subconscious blueprint for this section. Thursday (blackness) is the day of ‘The Rooster’s Laughter’ and ‘Easter Island’. Friday (sight) revolves around ‘the interior of sight’ andĀ is made up of what Ernst calls visible poems. Saturday (unknown) is ‘The Key to Songs’, the most cryptic of days which seems to draw upon many of the various images throughout. Below I’ve collected a few of my favourite images from each of the days:


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Roger Dean’s EPIC Fantasy-Surrealist Album Artwork

Roger Dean is an English artist, designer, architect and publisher who is best known for his album art designs for various English rock bands. His vibrant fantasy landscapes are often reminiscent of Rousseau and Ernst. Below I’ve collected some of his best work with a short description underneath. Enjoy!

^cover from Yes’s album ‘Relayer’ (1974)


^album cover for Yes’s ‘Yes Songs’

^cover for Dave Greenslade’s ‘Cactus Choir’ (1976)

^cover for Gentle Giant’s ‘Octopus’ (1972)

^cover for Yes’s ‘tales from topographic oceans’ (1973)

^cover for Osibisa’s ‘Osibisa’ (1971). This one recalls Dali… Surrealists sure love their elephants

Walking Circles, Midnight Sun (1972)

^cover for Midnight Sun’s ‘Walking Circles’ (1972)

Squawk, Budgie (1972)

^cover for Budgie’s ‘squawk’ (1972). I think this is my favourite of Dean’s work, simplistic but powerful. (Though it’s probably because the aviation/avian mergence seems distinctly Ballardian šŸ˜€ )

^cover for Gun’s ‘Gun’ (1968). His first ever cover and one of his best (imo)

^cover for London Philharmonic Orchestra titled ‘Symphonic muse of yes’ (1993). I love the colours in this one.

^cover for Paladin’s ‘Charge’ (1972). Another favourite, loving the SF vibes in this one.


J. G. Ballard and ‘The Evening of the Birds’ – A Surrealist passage from The Unlimited Dream Company

“Their dreaming minds suspended me in my flight. As I passed above their heads I knew that I was flying, not as a pilot in an aircraft, but as a condor, bird of good omen…Ā I sailed grandly through the Ā cold air. I could see my huge wings and the fluted rows of ice-white feathers, and feel the powerful muscles across my chest. I raked the sky with the claws of a great raptor… All over Shepperton birds were appearing on the rooftops, raised by my cries from the sleeping minds of the people below, husbands and wives wearing their brilliant new night plumage, parents with their excited nestlings, ready to mount the air together. As I soared above them I could hear their eager cries and feel the beat of their wings overtaking mine. A dense spiral of flying forms rose into the night, an ascending carousel of wakening sleepers”

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