MANIFESTOES OF SURREALISM ANDRE BRETON PDF

Manifestoes of Surrealism has ratings and 58 reviews. Manifestoes of Surrealism is a book by André Breton, describing the aims, meaning, and political . Manifestoes of Surrealism. Andre Breton. Translated by Richard Seaver and Helen R. Lane. Presents the essential ideas of the founder of French surrealism. (file size: MB, MIME type: application/pdf). Expand view.

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Breton, Andre (–) – First Manifesto of Surrealism

So strong is the belief in life, in what is most fragile in life — real life, I mean — that in the end this belief is lost. Man, that inveterate dreamer, daily more discontent with his destiny, has trouble assessing the objects he has been led to use, objects that his nonchalance has brought his way, or that he has earned through his own efforts, almost always through his own efforts, for he has agreed to work, at least he has not refused to try his luck or what he calls his luck!

At this point he feels extremely modest: If he still retains a certain lucidity, all he can do is turn back toward his childhood which, however his guides and mentors may have botched it, still strikes him as somehow charming. There, the absence of any known restrictions allows him the perspective of several lives lived at once; this illusion becomes firmly rooted within him; now he is only interested in the fleeting, the extreme facility of everything.

Children set off each day without a worry in the world. Everything is near at hand, the worst material conditions are fine. The woods are white or black, one will never sleep. But it is true that we would not dare venture so far, it is not merely a question of distance.

Threat is piled upon threat, one yields, abandons a portion of the terrain to be conquered. This imagination which knows no bounds is henceforth allowed to be exercised only in strict accordance with the laws of an arbitrary utility; it is incapable of assuming this inferior role for very long and, in the vicinity of the twentieth year, generally prefers to abandon man to his lusterless fate. Though he may later try to pull himself together on occasion, having felt that he is losing by slow degrees all reason for living, incapable as he has become of being able to rise to some exceptional situation such as love, he will hardly succeed.

This is because he henceforth belongs body and soul to an imperative practical necessity which demands his constant attention. None of his gestures will be expansive, none of his ideas generous or far-reaching. What am I saying: On no account will he view them as his salvation. Beloved imagination, what I most like in you is your unsparing quality. There remains madness, “the madness that one locks up,” as it has aptly been described.

That madness or another….

We all know, in fact, that the insane owe their incarceration to a tiny number of legally reprehensible acts and surreakism, were it not for these acts their freedom or what we see as their freedom would not be threatened. I am willing to admit that they are, to some degree, victims of their imagination, in that it induces them not to pay attention to certain ancre — outside of which the species feels threatened — which we are all supposed to know and respect.

But their profound indifference to the way in which we judge them, and even to the various punishments meted out to them, allows us to suppose that they derive a great deal of comfort and consolation from their imagination, that they enjoy their madness sufficiently to endure the thought that andge validity does not extend beyond themselves. And, indeed, hallucinations, illusions, etc.

I could spend my whole life prying loose the secrets of the insane. Christopher Columbus should have set out to discover America with a andr of madmen.

André Breton

And note how this madness has taken shape, and endured. It is not the fear of madness which will oblige us to leave the flag of imagination furled. The case against the realistic attitude demands to be examined, following the case against the manifestoea attitude. The latter, more poetic in fact than the former, admittedly implies on the part of man a kind of monstrous pride which, admittedly, is monstrous, but not a new and more complete decay. It should above all be viewed as a welcome reaction against certain ridiculous tendencies of spiritualism.

Finally, it is not incompatible with a certain nobility of thought. By contrast, the realistic attitude, inspired by sutrealism, from Saint Thomas Aquinas to Anatole France, clearly seems to me to be hostile to any intellectual or moral advancement. I loathe it, for it is made up of mediocrity, hate, and dull conceit. It is this attitude which today gives birth to these ridiculous books, these insulting plays.

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The activity of the best minds feels the effects of it; the law of the lowest common denominator finally prevails upon them as it does upon the others. An amusing result of this state of affairs, in literature for example, is the generous supply of novels. Each person adds his personal little “observation” to the whole. As a cleansing antidote to all this, M. The most famous authors would be included.

The circumstantial, needlessly specific nature of each of their notations leads me to believe that they are perpetrating a joke at my expense. So many questions resolved once and for all, as surrralism directs; the only discretionary power left me is to close the book, which I am careful to do somewhere surrrealism the vicinity of the first page. The small room into which the young man was shown was covered with yellow wallpaper: There was nothing special about the room. The furniture, of yellow wood, was all very old.

A sofa with a tall back turned down, an oval table opposite the sofa, a dressing table and a mirror set against brton pierglass, some chairs along the walls, two or three etchings of no value portraying some German girls with birds in their hands — surreallsm were the furnishings. Dostoevski, Crime and Punishment. I am in no mood to admit that the mind is interested in occupying itself with such matters, even fleetingly. It may be argued that this school-boy description has its place, and that at this juncture of the book the author manifestose his reasons for burdening me.

Nevertheless he is wasting his time, for I refuse to go into his room. I have too unstable a notion of the continuity of life to equate or compare my moments of depression or weakness with my best moments. When one ceases to feel, I am of the surrealiem one should keep quiet. And I would like it understood that I am not accusing or condemning lack of originality as such.

I am only saying that I do not take particular note of the empty moments of my life, that it may be unworthy for any man to crystallize those which seem to him to be so. I shall, with your permission, ignore the description of that room, manifeztoes many more like it. The author attacks a character and, this being settled upon, manifesgoes his hero to and fro across the world. No matter what happens, this hero, whose actions and reactions are admirably surralism, is compelled not to thwart or upset — even though he looks as though he is — the calculations of which he is the object.

The currents of life can appear to lift him up, roll him over, cast him down, he will still belong mabifestoes this readymade human type. A simple game of chess which doesn’t interest me in the least — man, whoever he may be, being for me a mediocre opponent. What I cannot bear are those wretched discussions relative to such and such a move, since winning or losing is mahifestoes in question.

And if the game is not worth the candle, if objective reason does a frightful job — as indeed it does — of serving him who calls upon it, is it not fitting and proper to avoid all contact with these categories?

If in a cluster of grapes there are no manifeztoes alike, brreton do you want me to describe this grape by the other, by all the others, why do you want me to make a palatable grape? Our brains are dulled by the incurable mania of wanting to make the unknown known, classifiable. The desire for analysis wins out over the sentiments. The result is statements of undue length whose persuasive power is attributable solely to their strangeness and which impress the reader only by the abstract quality of their vocabulary, which moreover is ill-defined.

If the general ideas that philosophy has thus far come up with as topics of discussion revealed by their very nature ansre definitive incursion maniffstoes a broader or more general area. I would be the first to greet the news with joy. But up till now it has been nothing but idle repartee; the flashes of wit and other niceties vie in concealing from us the true thought in search of itself, instead of concentrating on obtaining successes. It seems to me that every act is its own justification, at least for the person who has been capable of committing it, that it is endowed with a radiant power which the slightest gloss is certain to diminish.

Because of this gloss, it even in a sense ceases to happen. It gains nothing to be thus distinguished. Stendhal’s heroes are subject to the comments and appraisals — appraisals which are more or less successful — made by that author, which add not one whit to their glory. Where we really find them again is at the point at which Stendahl has lost them. We are still living under the reign of logic: But in this day and age logical methods are applicable only to solving problems of secondary interest.

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The absolute rationalism that is still in vogue allows us to consider only facts relating directly to our experience. Logical ends, on the contrary, escape us. It is pointless to add that experience itself has found itself increasingly circumscribed.

It paces back and forth in a cage from which it is more and more difficult to make it emerge. It too leans for support on what is most immediately expedient, and it is protected by the sentinels of common sense. Under the pretense of civilization and progress, we have managed to banish from the mind everything that may rightly or wrongly be termed superstition, or fancy; forbidden is any kind of search for truth which is not in conformance with accepted practices.

It was, apparently, by pure chance that a part of our mental world which we pretended not to be concerned with any longer — and, in my opinion by far the most important part — has been brought back to light. For this we must give thanks to the discoveries of Sigmund Freud.

On the basis of these discoveries a current of opinion is finally forming by means of which the human explorer will be able to carry his investigation much further, authorized as he will henceforth be not to confine himself solely to the most summary realities. The imagination is perhaps on the point of reasserting itself, of reclaiming its rights.

If the depths of our mind contain within it strange forces capable of augmenting those on the surface, or of waging a victorious battle against them, there is every reason to seize them — first to seize them, then, if need be, to submit them to the control of our reason. The analysts themselves have everything to gain by it.

But it is worth noting that no means has been designated a priori for carrying out this undertaking, that until further notice it can be construed to be the province of poets as well as scholars, and that its success is not dependent upon the more or less capricious paths that will be followed.

Freud very rightly brought his critical faculties to bear upon the dream. It is, in fact, inadmissible that this considerable portion of psychic activity since, at least from man’s birth until his death, thought offers no solution of continuity, the sum of the moments of the dream, from the point of view of time, and taking into consideration only the time of pure dreaming, that is the dreams of sleep, is not inferior to the sum of manifeestoes moments of reality, or, to be more precisely limiting, the moments of waking has still today been so grossly neglected.

I have always been amazed at the way an ordinary observer lends so much more credence and attaches so much more importance to waking events than to those occurring in dreams.

It is because man, when he ceases to sleep, is above all the plaything of his memory, and in its normal state memory takes pleasure in weakly retracing for him the circumstances of the dream, in stripping it of any real importance, and in dismissing the only determinant from the point where he thinks he has left it a few hours before: He is under the impression of continuing something that is worthwhile.

Thus the dream finds itself reduced to a mere parenthesis, as is the night. And, like the night, dreams generally contribute little to furthering our understanding. This curious state of affairs seems to me to call for certain reflections: Memory alone arrogates to itself the right to excerpt from dreams, to ignore the transitions, and to depict for us rather a series of dreams than the dream itself.

By the same token, at any given moment we have only a distinct surrelism of realities, the coordination of which is a question of will. For the most part I retain only what I can glean from its most superficial layers. What I most enjoy contemplating about a dream is everything that suerealism back below the surface in a waking state, everything I have forgotten about my bretno in the course of the preceding day, dark foliage, stupid branches.