This book chapter critically analyses the late collages and writings of the Belgian surrealist E.L.T. Mesens in relation to the issue of masculinity. The discussion is focused on the late works produced after Mesens's return to collage in 1953 and forms part of a collection that aims to rethink the marginal role traditionally accorded to surrealism in Belgium.
Despite his extensive contribution to the surrealist movement, including his heavy involvement in the Belgian group and his leadership of the English surrealist group, Mesens remains a little known figure, with little writing available in English. Given Mesens's importance in relation to the transfer of surrealism to England, his role as a gallerist and publisher of the London Bulletin, as well as his role as a visual artist working in England, this is very much a neglected part of English and Belgian art history and this essay makes a significant contribution to the analysis of this under-researched field. The work should also be seen in relation to growing interest within the field of surrealist studies of the late works of the postwar period, long neglected in critical studies and currently undergoing re-evaluation. The analysis focuses on masculinity explored in terms of a performative model of gender that draws on the work of Judith Butler and others, and thus also constitutes a contribution to gender studies.