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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Let us regard these statements as the manifestation of their state of mind in 1925
rather than as a specific expression of the truth. What matters is that the
surrealists said they no longer wanted to consider the revolution except “in its
... which his life and even his genius confine him, has found the means of giving
his thought a perfect and vigorous expression without betrayal, an expression
whose humor and power, whose poetry, in a word, suddenly suffers before our
Hitherto only prose texts had been subject to prosecution, because prose is the
expression of rational, discursive thought. Of course Baudelaire had been
prosecuted for the immorality or obscenity of some of his poems, but even here
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