An autobiographical vel that reads more like an exorcism than a vel. In terse and lucid prose, Zurn traces the roots to her obsessions: the exotic father whom she idolized, the impure mother she detested, the masochistic fantasies and onanistic rituals which she said described 'the erotic life of a little girl based on my own childhood.' Dark Spring is the story of a girls's simultaneous initiation to sexuality and madness, revealing a dark side of the 'mad love' so championed and romanticized by the (predominantly male) Surrealists.
Unica Zurn (1916-70) suffered thirteen years of mental illness before throwing herself from her apartment window - an act foretold in this, her last work. Born in Germany, Zurn moved in mid-life to Paris, where she lived with the artist Hans Bellmer (she was his model as well as lover), and where she moved in the Surrealist circles of Hans Arp, Marcel Duchamp, and Man Ray. Caroline Rupprecht is Professor of Comparative Literature at Queens College, New York.