A foundational classic of Surrealist literature, The Leg of Lamb brings together the arch-Surrealist Benjamin Peret's short prose: a smorgasbord of automatic writing and fantastical narratives employing everything from the cinematic antics of Buster Keaton and slapstick animation to the storytelling devices of detective novels, alchemical operations and mythology. The Leg of Lamb consists of 24 delirious narratives, including the novella-length works "And the Breasts Were Dying" and "There Was a Little Bakeress." Peret's adult fairy tales bear equal allegiance to Lewis Carroll and the Marquis de Sade, and present one of the clearest examples of Surrealist humor, in which the boundaries between character and object blur, and where a coat rack, artichoke or a pile of manure is just as likely as Napoleon, El Cid or Pope Pius VII to take on the role of hero and adventurer. Peret himself edited this collection toward the end of his life.
Originally published in French in 1957, almost all of the stories in this collection had been written in the 1920s, half of them even preceding Andre Breton's Manifesto of Surrealism. The Leg of Lamb offers not only a highpoint of Surrealist automatic writing, but a key chapter in the genesis of the Surrealist movement.