Magritte and Cultural Capital: The Surreal World of Anthony Browne
Abstract

Anthony Browne is firmly established in the contemporary canon of picture books. At least in part, his popularity can be attributed to a perceived cultural egalitarianism performed and promoted by his books. This paper argues that, in contradiction with a surface ideology of access to art for all, Browne’s sustained visual references to paintings by Magritte work actually to affirm cultural hierarchies that should more rightly be challenged. Browne’s uses of surrealism generally and Magritte specifically thus rest on a passive ideology of cultural capital being available only to those already familiar with Browne’s work.


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