The History of Surrealism
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000 - 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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Aragon, Breton, Éluard, Péret, Unik, shaken by his arguments nonetheless,
decided to offer hostages to the position he defended by joining the Communist
Party. An odd choice after what we have said of Breton's fierce intractability with
Mistakenly, it would appear, for they observed that some of their friends “
pretended not to understand,” notably the Belgian surrealists Paul Nougé and
Camille Goemans, who wrote them: “You have decided to join the Communist
Was it possible to hope that this outspoken declaration would silence the
prejudices of the Communist Party in their regard? This attempt was to have no
more success than the preceding ones. Was it possible to learn a lesson from this
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