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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Poetry must be “soul speaking to soul,” dream must be substituted for “directed
thought,” images must no longer be the foxfire running on the surface of thoughts
or feelings, but lightning flashes, continually illuminating “the caverns of being.
To fall into the trap, Aragon proclaims, is to resolve to protest no longer against
anything, to keep silence. Then actions will truly be in agreement with words, or
rather the absence of actions to the absence of words; and the conformists ask for
If the two paths were parallel, they could no longer intersect. Surrealism would
remain alive only so long as Breton, managing to operate on both levels, could
sustain it on its own contradictions. From this point of view, the Deuxième
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