The Uruguayan literary critic, essayist and writer Gervasio Guillot Muñoz (together with his twin brother Álvaro) proficiently researched and wrote essays, primarily in a literary perspective, dedicated to late nineteenth and early twentieth century Parisian authors. In Montevideo, they both founded, with the writer and journalist Alberto Lasplaces, the cultural magazine Cruz del Sur published from 1924 to 1931. But their most outstanding contribution, however, is on their research on the French poet of Uruguayan decent, Isidore Ducasse, and his work. Isidore Ducasse was the Count of Lautréamont and the author of the Cantos de Maldoror, which, for André Breton, Salvador Dalí and others was an unquestionable reference to the surrealist movement in the twentieth century.
In this article, written for the Clinamen magazine, Guillot reviews the stages of the Surrealist movement, from its inception in 1924, up to the Second World War. With a dual critique, he draws inference to the movement in the 1940s and its relevance from a philosophical point of view and from a political perspective. In a philosophical aspect, Guillot considered the movement to be dead with its “irrational” repetitive argument and due to not yet overcoming the radical dualism of subject versus object. In the political aspect, he considered valid the attitude of some of its former members, who relocated the surrealist transgressive proposals of the original surrealism to the political plane of ideas and to the political militant left, Guillot referred to this as “scientific socialism.”
This brief analysis, that Guillot referred to as the historical process of surrealism, ranged from “skeptical nihilism” surrounding existential distress, even the ideological assumption of anti-colonial political proposals, and the artist's social role in a global context. The analysis was partly referenced, especially all that was related to the “restlessness of the century,” to the unrest, or to the “illness of the century,” recollecting, thus, the inconclusive writings by Benjamin Crémieux. Of importance and of interest is the fact that Guillot having pointed out the state of spiritual instability of the European intellectuals after the first conflagration, and having studied two French Uruguayans (Isadore Ducasse and Julio Laforgue) and others who undoubtedly fed the French surrealist movement, would leave aside his psychoanalytical interpretation. The unquestionable here, was that it was a thoughtless assertion and it meant breaking from what was “real” and a claim of the unconscious. Therefore, the omission of Sigmund Freud’s perspective on “cultural unrest” in the 1930s was inadmissible.