A surrealist’s guide to reality

The Lit & Phil Philosophy Forum

philosophy forum time lapse style image of night sky with silhouette of figure and tress in the foreground
This is a past event
Date and time
25 July 2023
7.00 pm
Free to members. Donations from non-members welcome.


Surrealism: the 20th century art movement where dreams and waking reality combined into a new strange ‘super-reality’.

The most cerebral of the surrealists – the man who painted philosophy – was René Magritte, a magician who conjured up a weird and wonderful world of images.

Look at his paintings, seemingly so elegant and simple at first, and you are soon sucked into a vortex of deep symbols and wry jokes about the human condition.  Magritte’s pipe painting, which paradoxically states that it is not a pipe, is one of the most famous images of all time.  But if it is not a pipe, what is it?

The focus paper A surrealist’s guide to reality is your travel guide to the representational ‘hall of mirrors’ you have just entered by asking that question. Can we decode the beautiful strangeness of Magritte’s work?  We can try…but prepare to be discombobulated!  Some of the paper is an easy read and some a bit harder.  But don’t worry if all is not clear; this is tricky stuff … just the way René liked it!


Good to know: We take pride in putting the fun back into serious philosophy through our friendly and respectful discussions involving different levels of experience of philosophy.  The Lit & Phil Philosophy Forum is all about collectively exploring interesting and exciting ideas from different viewpoints … not winning arguments!

The focus paper, by Christopher Burke, is for reading before the event, to enrich and guide our discussions.

We are usually oversubscribed, so if you book but find out later that you cannot attend, please cancel your ticket to free up a place for someone else. Thank you.

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