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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I wonder if in our age automatic writing and similar techniques do not fill the role
of the great public contests in declaiming improvised verse, which in earlier eras
associated artistic creation with physical prowess and produced a trickle of good
The results obtained by automatic writing, by the account of dreams, for instance,
are represented here, but no result of research, experiments, or works is as yet
published: we have everything to expect from the future. A préface signed by J.-A.
Manifeste du Surréalisme, I insisted, in the name of the poetic conception my
friends and I maintained, on disengaging the author's responsibility entirely in
cases when certain texts of incontestable “automatic” character were incriminated
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