chapter  3
Aragon’s armoire: Gray Read
Pages 10

In the 1920s, when modern architects called for clarity and light, surrealist

poet Louis Aragon described essential architecture as darkness, defined by

its interiors and its closures. In plays and prose poems, Aragon evoked the

box, the coffin, the room, and objects themselves – particularly manufac-

tured objects – as containers that hold dark mysteries within. His prose

lingers at doors, lids, and the visible surface of objects, exploring them as

boundaries between light and dark where visible and invisible rub against one

another. At these boundaries, Aragon gathered sparks of poetry in the fric-

tion between outside and inside, light and dark, as well as between words

and substance. As formative Surrealist texts, much of what Aragon wrote in

the early 1920s recognized ordinary buildings and objects as thresholds to a

kingdom of the marvelous.