Written in April/May 1922, this is the first prose work by Robert Desnos. At first it appears to be a sort of roman a clef. All of Desnos’s friends in the Paris Dada Movement make their appearance, Andre Breton, Louis Aragon and Benjamin Peret among others. The Dada movement seemed played out, killed off by a mixture of public success, internal dissensions and boredom with the predictability of its scandals. The Punishments of Hell thus lies between Dada and Surrealism. All is confusion at this critical pass when the future seems simultaneously at stake and within one’s grasp, and this novel perfectly embodies its modern chaos.