The Greatest Iranian, French "Surrealism" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Surrealism is a genre of literature that explores the subconscious mind and the irrational aspects of human experience. It often features dreamlike imagery, unexpected juxtapositions, and a sense of the uncanny. Surrealist literature seeks to challenge conventional thinking and push the boundaries of reality, often blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. It is a genre that celebrates the power of the imagination and encourages readers to question their perceptions of the world around them.

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  1. 1. Nadja by André Breton

    The novel is a surrealistic exploration of the narrator's relationship with a young woman named Nadja. As the narrator becomes infatuated with Nadja, their encounters become more and more dreamlike. The book delves into the nature of reality and the power of the subconscious mind, blurring the lines between dreams and reality. It is also a commentary on the socio-political climate of Paris in the early 20th century, showcasing the author's views on art, life, and love.

    The 768th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille

    This novel is a provocative exploration of the dark side of human nature, featuring two teenage characters who engage in increasingly bizarre and violent sexual games. Their actions, driven by their obsession with eroticism and death, lead them into a world of perversion and madness. The narrative is filled with explicit sexual content and shocking imagery, reflecting the author's fascination with the transgressive and the taboo.

    The 795th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Maldoror (Les Chants de Maldoror) by Comte de Lautréamont

    "Maldoror (Les Chants de Maldoror)" is a poetic novel that explores the dark and surreal world of the protagonist, Maldoror, a figure of absolute evil who rejects God and conventional morality, often expressing a violent hatred towards humanity. The book is composed of six cantos filled with bizarre and often shocking imagery, which depict Maldoror's experiences in a world that he perceives as chaotic and indifferent. The novel is known for its vivid and often disturbing exploration of the human condition and its subversion of traditional literary norms.

    The 876th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Froth on the daydream by Boris Vian

    "Froth on the Daydream" is a tragic love story set in a surreal world. The protagonist is a wealthy young man who marries a woman he loves deeply. However, their bliss is short-lived when she develops a strange illness - a water lily growing in her lung. As her health deteriorates, so does their wealth and social standing, leading to a bleak and heartbreaking end. This novel is a poignant exploration of love, loss, and the harsh realities of life, all set within a fantastical and dreamlike landscape.

    The 935th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Les Enfants Terribles by Jean Cocteau

    "Les Enfants Terribles" is a haunting tale of sibling love and rivalry. The story revolves around two siblings, Elisabeth and Paul, who create a private world of their own, isolated from the outside world, in a Parisian apartment. Their intense bond is both destructive and all-consuming, causing them to reject the outside world and its conventions. This results in a tragic ending, as their intense relationship leads to a series of unfortunate events, including heartbreak, manipulation, and ultimately, death.

    The 1117th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. The Blind Owl by Ṣādiq Hidāyat

    "The Blind Owl" is a haunting narrative that delves into the psyche of a tormented artist who is grappling with love, loss, and existential dread. The protagonist is a reclusive painter of pen cases who is haunted by the image of a mysterious woman, leading him down a spiral of obsession and madness. The story unfolds in a dreamlike narrative, blurring the lines between reality and illusion, and is steeped in Persian mysticism and symbolism. The novel explores themes of alienation, death, and the fragility of the human condition.

    The 1211th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Locus Solus by Raymond Roussel

    "Locus Solus" is an avant-garde novel that revolves around the eccentric millionaire inventor, Canterel, who invites a group of guests to visit his estate, Locus Solus. Here, he displays a series of bizarre inventions, each with a detailed backstory. The inventions include a diamond-encrusted machine that constructs intricate mosaics using human teeth, a large glass cage filled with preserved human heads that reenact key moments from their lives, and a device that uses preserved body parts to perform a grotesque ballet. The narrative is heavily detailed and surreal, creating a unique and intriguing exploration of art, life, and the human condition.

    The 1422nd Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Blue of Noon by Georges Bataille

    "Blue of Noon" is a provocative novel set in 1930s Europe during the rise of fascism. The story follows the life of an Englishman living in Paris, who is embroiled in a self-destructive cycle of sexual escapades and political extremism. His journey takes him through various European cities, where he engages in debauchery and encounters the political turmoil of the time. The book explores themes of existentialism, nihilism, and the human condition, offering a dark and complex portrayal of a man's struggle with his inner demons and the chaotic world around him.

    The 2010th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Surrealist Manifesto by André Breton

    The Surrealist Manifesto is a groundbreaking work that introduces and defines the surrealist movement in literature and art. The book, written by the founder of the movement, presents the idea that the rational mind represses the power of the imagination, weighting it down with taboos. It argues that the world of dreams and the unconscious should be embraced to enhance creativity, leading to more complete and fulfilling human experience. The book also criticizes traditional societal structures and norms, advocating for revolution and freedom of thought.

    The 2045th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Impressions of Africa by Raymond Roussel

    In this surrealistic novel, a group of Europeans are stranded in Africa after their ship is hijacked by a local monarch. While held captive, each of the characters narrates a fantastical tale or performance, showcasing their unique talents and skills. The narrative is filled with bizarre inventions, intricate wordplay, and a dizzying array of subplots, all of which are eventually woven together in a complex and cryptic manner. The novel is a testament to the author's imagination and his ability to create a world that is both strange and captivating.

    The 2471st Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. Arcanum 17 by André Breton

    "Arcanum 17" is a surrealist exploration of love, loss, and resurrection set amidst the backdrop of World War II. Drawing inspiration from the legend of Melusina, the author uses the symbolism of this mythic figure to discuss the role of women in society and the destructive nature of war. The narrative also delves into themes of renewal, rebirth, and the power of the feminine, all while using the surrealist style to blend reality and dream in a poetic and philosophical discourse.

    The 2471st Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Heartsnatcher by Boris Vian

    The novel is a surreal and satirical tale set in a bizarre town where the eccentric inhabitants live under the oppressive rule of a despotic and whimsical figure. The narrative follows the lives of the townspeople, who are subjected to absurd and often cruel whims that challenge their sanity and morality. As the story unfolds, the characters confront the absurdity of existence, the nature of love and desire, and the struggle for individual freedom against authoritarian control. The book combines elements of fantasy, dark humor, and existential philosophy, creating a unique and thought-provoking exploration of human nature and society.

    The 5239th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. The Red Grass by Boris Vian

    "The Red Grass" is a surreal and philosophical novel that delves into the life of a man obsessed with creating a machine that can record and alter human memories. Set in a bizarre and shifting world that defies the constraints of time and space, the protagonist navigates through a series of existential crises and encounters with eccentric characters, all while grappling with the implications of his invention. The narrative explores themes of reality, identity, and the nature of existence, challenging the reader to question the very fabric of their perceptions and the consequences of tampering with the human mind.

    The 5251st Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. Liberty Or Love! by Robert Desnos

    "Liberty or Love!" is a surrealist novel that delves into the passionate and tumultuous affair between a fugitive named Monsieur Louis Aragon and a mysterious woman known only as "the Mourning Dove." Their intense and erotic relationship unfolds in a dreamlike narrative, blending elements of fantasy and reality. The novel challenges traditional notions of love and freedom, exploring the boundaries of desire and the constraints of societal norms. The author's poetic prose and vivid imagery reflect the surrealist movement's fascination with the subconscious and the liberation of the human spirit.

    The 5289th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. Three by Georges Perec

    This book is a unique exploration of human experience and memory, weaving together three distinct narratives that delve into the intricacies of loss, identity, and the passage of time. Through a meticulous and innovative use of language, the author crafts a multifaceted examination of life's fleeting moments and the ways in which they are remembered and forgotten. The narratives, though seemingly disparate, converge in their shared themes of absence and the search for meaning within the mundane, challenging readers to reflect on the nature of existence and the connections that bind the past to the present.

    The 5724th Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. Aurelia by Gérard de Nerval

    "Aurelia" is a semi-autobiographical narrative blending reality with dreamlike visions, where the protagonist embarks on a profound and surreal journey through his psyche following a descent into madness. The work is a poignant exploration of the author's own experiences with mental illness, unrequited love, and existential anguish. It delves into themes of the supernatural, the occult, and the interplay between dreams and waking life, as the narrator seeks to reconcile his internal turmoil and find a deeper understanding of his soul and the universe. The narrative is rich with symbolic imagery and introspective passages that reflect the author's fascination with the mystical and his quest for spiritual transcendence.

    The 7191st Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. Mount Analogue by René Daumal

    The book is a novel that combines surreal adventure with philosophical inquiry, telling the story of an expedition to a mysterious, inaccessible mountain that represents a spiritual quest. The mountain, which connects Earth to Heaven, can only be perceived by those who have refined their inner vision. The narrative follows the explorers as they embark on their journey, facing various challenges and revelations that mirror the inner landscapes of human consciousness and the pursuit of enlightenment. As the climbers ascend, the novel delves into themes of reality, symbolism, and the pursuit of the absolute, ultimately leaving the reader with a contemplation of the unattainable peak of human knowledge and experience.

    The 7191st Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. Selected Works by Alfred Jarry

    "Selected Works" by Alfred Jarry is a compilation of the most significant writings from a French author known for his pioneering work in the Absurdist and Surrealist movements. The collection showcases a range of Jarry's literary output, including plays, essays, and novels, with his most famous character, Père Ubu, often taking center stage. Jarry's work is characterized by its satirical edge, inventive language, and the subversion of traditional literary forms. His influence extends beyond literature into the realms of theatre and the visual arts, where his ideas have continued to resonate with avant-garde movements throughout the 20th century and beyond.

    The 7191st Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. Selected Writings by Guillaume Apollinaire

    "Selected Writings" is a compilation of works by a pioneering figure in 20th-century literature, showcasing a diverse array of poetic and prose pieces that reflect the author's innovative approach to language and form. The collection spans the breadth of his career, featuring avant-garde poetry that breaks free from traditional structures, as well as narrative prose that blends surrealism with acute observations of modern life. The author's fascination with themes such as love, war, and the artistic struggle is evident throughout the anthology, which serves as a testament to his influence on the development of modernist literature and his role in bridging the gap between the artistic movements of his time.

    The 7191st Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. Poems Of André Breton by André Breton

    This collection is a compilation of works by a seminal figure in the surrealist movement, showcasing a series of poems that delve into the depths of the unconscious mind. The poems are characterized by their dreamlike imagery, unexpected juxtapositions, and free association, reflecting the author's revolutionary approach to literature. Through his verse, the poet seeks to liberate thought from rational constraints and explore the vast possibilities of human imagination, often blurring the lines between reality and dream, sanity and madness, in a quest to capture the essence of surrealist philosophy.

    The 7191st Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. Selected Writings by Henri Michaux

    "Selected Writings" is a compilation of works by a prominent 20th-century author known for his idiosyncratic and imaginative style that blends poetry, travelogue, and philosophical reflection. The collection showcases a range of the writer's experiments with language and thought, offering readers a glimpse into his unique literary universe. Through a mix of introspection and surreal exploration, the texts delve into the psyche, the nature of consciousness, and the human experience, often drawing on the author's own encounters with foreign cultures and his use of hallucinogenic substances to transcend the boundaries of reality. The anthology serves as a testament to the author's innovative approach to writing and his enduring influence on modern literature.

    The 7191st Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. Seven Dada Manifestoes by Tristan Tzara

    This book is a collection of manifestos that serve as a seminal document in the history of the Dada movement, an avant-garde art movement of the early 20th century. The texts within are a blend of satire, polemic, and absurdity, reflecting the movement's disdain for the norms of bourgeois culture and traditional aesthetics. The author, a key figure in Dadaism, uses these manifestos to challenge concepts of art, literature, and politics, advocating for chaos and spontaneity over logic and reason. The work is both a philosophical treatise and a call to arms, encouraging the reader to question the status quo and embrace the liberating power of nonconformity and irrationality.

    The 7191st Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. Poems Of Bejamin Péret by Bejamin Péret

    The collection "Poems of Benjamin Péret" offers a journey through the imaginative and often surreal landscape of one of the most original voices of the 20th-century avant-garde. Péret, a prominent figure in the Surrealist movement, weaves together dreamlike imagery, revolutionary fervor, and a playful yet biting wit to challenge conventional norms and explore the depths of the subconscious. His poetry is characterized by a free-flowing style that breaks from traditional forms, reflecting his commitment to artistic and personal liberty. This anthology captures the essence of Péret's work, showcasing his contributions to literature and his enduring influence on the realm of poetic expression.

    The 7191st Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. Amédée by Eugène Ionesco

    The play revolves around the bizarre situation of a couple living with the growing corpse of the husband's friend, Amédée, in their apartment. As the body inexplicably continues to expand, it causes increasing inconvenience and absurdity in their lives. The husband, a failed playwright, and his wife struggle with their mundane existence, their inability to dispose of the corpse, and the surreal events that unfold. The narrative explores themes of stagnation, guilt, and the absurdity of life, as the couple's surreal predicament serves as a metaphor for the inescapable, often grotesque, complexities of the human condition.

    The 7191st Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. The Baphomet by Pierre Klossowski

    "The Baphomet" is a philosophical novel that delves into the esoteric and mystical aspects of the Knights Templar, exploring themes of transgression, heresy, and the nature of divine presence. The narrative is structured around a series of ritualistic encounters and dialogues among the Templars, who have achieved a form of immortality. The characters engage in complex discussions on the dissolution of individual identity, the fluidity of gender, and the quest for spiritual transcendence. The book blends historical elements with surreal and symbolic imagery, challenging the reader to consider the boundaries of desire, knowledge, and the sacred.

    The 7191st Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.