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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Let us nonetheless review its essential characteristics : an attack first of all upon á
realism " hostile to any intellectual and moral advance , ” and of which Breton had
a horror because he found it consisted of nothing but “ mediocrity , hatred and ...
Yet they remain on the level of ideas : the “ idea of prison , of barracks , ” is
attacked , and nothing shows this better than ... censured by Bernier , to whom
Aragon replied in these terms : You have chosen to isolate as an attack a phrase
It is , first of all — notwithstanding the notion that “ surrealism is defined by those
who defend it and by those who attack it ” — a deliberate attack on the literature
of the period and its thurifers. 4 And to give it the following definition : “ Hysteria is
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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
FOREWORD Maurice Nadeau
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