As a dialectical avant-garde, surrealism promised to overcome the limits of its own historical conditions. Yet limits nonetheless obtained. This monograph rethinks surrealism with reference to its exclusions, aporias and thresholds. The question is: how to articulate the relation between surrealism and modernity? The historiographical framework is a double, overlapping reticulation: between biopolitics on the one hand, and the grand narrative or myth of modern disenchantment on the other. The study proceeds from the very heart of surrealism’s self-definition in the 1920s, through the dissident practices of Georges Bataille, Antonin Artaud and others, to the magics of Wifredo Lam and Ithell Colquhoun.