The History of Surrealism
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1989 - 351 pagina's
"I believe," André Breton said, "in the future resolution of the states of dream and reality--in appearance so contradictory--in a sort of absolute reality, or surréalité." The Surrealist movement, born in the 1920s out of the ferment of Dada, committed to revolution against bourgeois rationalism, and inspired by Freudian exploration of the unconscious, has reverberated more widely and deeply than perhaps any other art movement in our century. Its automatism, biomorphic shapes, visionary mode, and manipulation of found objects mark the work of artists as different as Ernst, Miró, Magritte, and Dali.
Maurice Nadeau's History of Surrealism, first published in French in 1944 and in English in 1965, has become a classic. It is both lucid and authoritative--by far the best overall account of this complex movement. Nadeau traces the evolution of Surrealism, bringing to life its many internal debates about politics and art. He relates the movement to its intellectual and artistic environment. And he provides the statements and manifestos of Breton, Aragon, Tzara, and others.
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Perhaps we must see in this failure the source of the disfavor he eventually found
with Breton, who "took leave" of him, in 1929, with these words: He is guilty in our
eyes of having allowed — of having not made entirely impossible — certain ...
Deploring the lack of rigor in previous action, thet inadequacy of the work done in
a realm almost entirely unexplored, it is without illusions but with courage and
confidence in the destiny of surrealism that Breton exclaims: "It is the innocence,
Breton was for a middle solution, which concealed the contradictions instead of
letting them appear: to continue to work autonomously, while proclaiming that the
movement was working for the Revolution, that it was pursuing the same objects
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foreword Maurice Nadeau
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