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Mary Ann Caws
Phone: (212) 817-8365
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D.
Research Interests: Poetry and Poetics, Contemporary Literature and the Arts, Translation.

Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature, English, and French


Primary concentrations:

Poetry and Poetics, Contemporary Literature and the Arts, Translation.

Selection of Books Published:

  • Surrealism and the Literary Imagination. The Hague: Mouton, 1966.
  • The Poetry of Dada and Surrealism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971.
  • The Inner Theatre of Recent French Poetry. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972.
  • André Breton. Boston: Twayne, 1974.
  • The Presence of René Char. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976.
  • René Char. Boston: Twayne, 1976.
  • The Surrealist Voice of Robert Desnos. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1977.
  • La Main de Pierre Reverdy. Geneva: Droz, 1979.
  • The Eye in the Text: Essays on Perception, Mannerist to Modern. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981.
  • A Metapoetics of the Passage: Architextures Surrealist and After. Hanover: University of New England Press, 1981.
  • L'Oeuvre filante de René Char. Paris: Nizet, 1981.
  • Yves Bonnefoy. Boston: Twayne, 1984.
  • Reading Frames in Modern Fiction. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986.
  • Edmond Jabès. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1988.
  • The Art of Interference: Stressed Readings in Visual and Verbal Texts. Cambridge: Polity, and Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988.
  • Women of Bloomsbury: Virginia, Vanessa, and Carrington. New York and London: Routledge, 1990.
  • Robert Motherwell: What Art Holds. New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.
  • Carrington and Lytton/ Alone Together. London: Cecil Woolf, 1996.
  • André Breton, Revisited. New York: Twayne, 1996.
  • The Surrealist Look: An Erotics of Encounter. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1997.
  • Surrealism and the Art of Display.  Wexner Center, Fall, 1997.
  • Bloomsbury and France: Art and Friends. (with Sarah Bird Wright)  New York:  Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • Picasso's Weeping Woman: The Life and Art of Dora Maar.  Boston: Little Brown / Bulfinch, 2000.  Dora Maar with and without Picasso: A Biography. London: Thames and  Hudson, 2000.  Translations:  Les Vies de Dora Maar:  Bataille, Picasso et les surrealistes. Paris: Thames et Hudson, 2000;  Dora Maar con y sin Picasso: una biografia (Madrid: Destino, 2000); Die Kunsterlin an Picasso's Seite (Berlin: Nicolai, 2000).
  • Virginia Woolf: Illustrated Life. New York and London: Overlook Duckworth, 2001; 2004 (paper).
  • Marcel Proust: Illustrated Life. New York and London: Overlook Duckworth, 2003.
  • Pierre Reverdy. Editor and co-translator. New York Review Books, 2013.
  • The Modern Art Cookbook. Reaktion Books, 2013.


  • Théorie/Tableau/Texte.  Paris: Minard, 1983.
  • About French Poetry from Dada to Tel Quel: Theory and Text. Detroit: Wayne State, 1984.
  • The Prose Poem in France (co-editor with Hermine Riffaterre). New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.
  • Le Manifeste et le caché. Paris: Minard, 1981.
  • Le Texte et son double.  Paris: Lettres Modernes, 1985.
  • Writing in a Modern Temper. Stanford: Anma Libri, 1984.
  • Textual Analysis: Some Readers Reading. New York: Modern Language Association, 1986.
  • Perspectives on Perception: Philosophy, Art, and Literature. New York: Peter Lang, 1988.
  • Edmond Jabès. (co-editor with Richard Stamelman)  Geneva: Editions de la Montagne, 1989.
  • Reading Proust Now. (co-editor with Eugène Nicole)  New York: Peter Lang, 1990.
  • Selected Poems of René Char. (co-editor with Tina Jolas and translated)  New York: New Directions, 1992.
  • Women and Surrealism. (co-editor with Ruedi Kuenzli and Gwen Raaberg)  Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1991.
  • City Images. Philadelphia, Gordon and Breach, 1991.
  • L'Esprit Créateur. (co-editor with Richard Stamelman) 32, 2 (Summer 1992).
  • Joseph Cornell's Theater of the Mind: Selected Journals, Letters, and Files. New York and London: Thames and Hudson, 1994.
  • HarperCollins World Reader. (chief editor)  New York: HarperCollins, 1994.
  • Contre-Courants: Les femmes s'écrivent à travers les siècles. (co-edited with Nancy K. Miller, Elizabeth Houlding, and Cheryl Morgan)  Prentice Hall, 1994.
  • Écritures de femmes:  Nouvelles Cartographies. (co-editor with Mary Jean Green, Marianne Hirsch, Ronnie Scharfman)  New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.
  • "Around Yves Bonnefoy" (co-editor with Renée Waldinger)  Special issue of L'Esprit Créateur, 36, 3 (Fall 1996).
  • The Surrealist Painters and Poets.  Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 2001.
  • Manifesto: A Century of Isms.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001.
  • Surrealism. New York and London: Phaidon (Themes and Movements series), 2004
  • Yale Book of Twentieth Century French Poetry. New Haven: Yale UniversityPress, 2004


  • Tristan Tzara, Approximate Man and Other Writings, 1974.
  • Poems of René Char. (with Jonathan Griffin)  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976.
  • Roof Slates and other Poems of Pierre Reverdy. (with Patricia Terry)  Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1981.
  • Selected Poems and Prose of Stephane Mallarmé. New York: New Directions, 1982.
  • Poems of André Breton. (with Jean-Pierre Cauvin)  Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982.
  • Selected Poems of St-John Perse. New York: New Directions, 1982.
  • André Breton, Mad Love. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987.
  • Andre Breton, Communicating Vessels. (with Geoffrey Harris)  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991.
  • Marcelin Pleynet, Robert Motherwell. Paris: Daniel Papierski, 1990.
  • Selected Poems of Pierre Reverdy. (editor and co-translator with John Ashbery and Patricia Terry) Winston-Salem: Wake Forest University Press, 1991.
  • Selected Poems of René Char.  (editor and co-translator with Tina Jolas)  New York: New Directions, 1991.
  • Jacques Derrida and Paule Thévenin, The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1998.
  • André Breton, Lost Steps. (co-editor with Mark Polizzotti)  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.
  • André Breton, Break of Day. (co-translator and co-editor with Mark Polizzotti) Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.
  • Mallarmé in Prose. (co-translator and editor) New York: New Directions, 2001.
  • Louis-René des Forêts, Ostinato.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2001.

Elected Positions:

  • President, Association for Study of Dada and Surrealism, 1971-75
  • President, Modern Language Association of America, 1983
  • President, Academy of Literary Studies, 1984-5
  • President, American Comparative Literature Association, 1989-91
  • Fellow, New York University Institute for the Humanities (current)
  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (current)


  • Guggenheim Fellow, Fulbright Fellow;
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Fellow;
  • Director, National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars (2);
  • Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar; life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University;
  • Getty Scholar;
  • Rockefeller Foundation (Bellagio);
  • Virginia Center for Creative Arts.


  • Editor: Le Siècle éclaté (Paris: 1973--);
  • Co-Editor, Dada and Surrealism (1980--);
  • Chief Editor, HarperCollins World Reader (1994);
  • Editorial Board: College Literature; Comparative Literature Studies; Comparative Studies; Diacritics; French Review (1970-80); Modern Fiction Studies; New York Literary Forum; Publications of the Modern Language Association (PMLA,1979-81); Sites; Twentieth Century Studies.
  • Advisor: Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of Modern Poetry; Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies Reader.

See also the Mary Ann Caws page at TimeWarner Bookmarks.