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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On the first of the Littérature Fridays (January 23, 1920): André Salmon spoke first
, reciting poems. The public was leased, for after all there was a certain art
apparent in these, É. their pleasure was soon spoiled. Masks appeared and
recited a ...
had declared that they did not regard themselves as obliged to relate their acts to
their words, and that in any case the latter— this was Breton's thesis—could not,
in a poem, the supreme manifestation of the unconscious, commit their author.
Certainly, I affirmed, the man owed no more accounting for this to justice than for
his dreams. Hence it is an instance of bad faith to declare that surrealism is here
caught in a flagrant contradiction. Of course I am not claiming that the poem “Red
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