On Valerie, Nezval, Max Ernst, and Collage:

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On Valerie, Nezval, Max Ernst, and Collage: Variations on a Theme by Giuseppe Dierna

The Reverend Father Dulac Dessalé: “Rise, bride of Jesus. Follow me, my beauty, to the cracks in the walls, I who am called cockroach and kill-joy . . .” 1

in place of a prologue Vítězslav Nezval’s Valerie and Her Week of Wonders was written in 1935 at the height of Surrealist activity in Czechoslovakia, but stayed tucked away in a drawer for a decade before being published. Perhaps the most surrealistic of Nezval’s fiction, it is a text where the Gothic novel and dream theory combine to produce one of his more compelling works.2

the gothic novel Valerie clearly belongs to the tradition of both the roman noir and the serial novel — tales dispensed in weekly booklets quickly crumpled by impatient readers — by virtue of the author’s deliberate use of some of the compositional elements that define this particular literary genre.3 The entire plot, for example, revolves around a single protagonist, and the narrative structure is broken into short 199


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