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Katharine Conley


Edward Tuck Professor Emerita of French and Comparative Literature
Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania

Primary Interests

  • Surrealism
  • Women in Surrealism
  • Poetry
  • 20th-century fiction by women
  • Quebec women writers
  • Feminist and avant-garde theories of writing

Selected Publications

  • "Surrealism's Ghostly Automatic Body," Sites 15.3 (2011), 297-304
  • "Is Reconciliation Possible? Non-Western Objects at the Menil Collection and the Quai Branly Museum," South Central Review 27.1 (2010), 34-53
  • "Safe as Houses: Anamorphic Bodies in Ordinary Spaces: Miller, Carrington, Tanning, and Woodman" in Angels of Anarchy: Woman Surrealist Artists and Tradition, Patricia Allmer, ed., Prestel USA (2009), 46-53
  • "When the Viewer's Gaze is Returned: Teaching Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon," Teaching Ethics (2008), 87-102
  • Robert Desnos, Surrealism, and the Marvelous in Everyday Life, University of Nebraska Press (2003)
  • La Femme s'entête: La part du feminine dans le surréalisme, ed. with Georgiana Colvile, Lachenal & Ritter (1998)
  • Automatic Woman: The Representation of Woman in Surrealism, University of Nebraska Press (1996). Her book Surrealist Ghostliness is forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press in 2013

Additional Information

Professor Conley’s research and teaching focuses on surrealism as the premier avant-garde movement of the twentieth century.  She has published books and articles on women and the surrealist movement, on the poet Robert Desnos as the founding figure upon whom surrealist practice was founded—a poet whose surrealist idealism helped him in his work on the radio in the 1930s and in the French Resistance up through his deportation and death in a newly liberated concentration camp in 1945—and on the links between surrealist poetry and painting and surrealism and outsider art.  She is also the author of essays in museum exhibition catalogues.  She teaches courses in the Department of French and Italian and in the Comparative Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies Programs on surrealism, women in surrealism, modernism and anthropology, primitivism and outsider art, and on surrealism and photography.  Her current research project explores ghostliness in surrealist thought, film, photography, painting, sculpture, and writing.

Last Updated: 8/28/12