Archive for February 23rd, 2008

Artistic imagination must remain free. It is by definition free from any fidelity to circumstances, especially to the intoxicating circumstances of history.

February 23, 2008

Andre Breton

breton.jpgAndré Breton, 1896-1966: French poet and critic, a leader of the surrealist movement. He was born in Tinchebray, Orne Department, studied medicine, and worked in psychiatric wards in World War I. Later, as a writer in Paris, he was a pioneer in the antirationalist movements in art and literature known as Dadaism and surrealism, which developed out of the general disillusionment with tradition that marked the post-World War I era. Breton’s study of the works of Sigmund Freud and his experiments with automatic writing influenced his initial formulation of surrealist theory. He expressed his views in Literature, the leading surrealist periodical, which he helped found and edited for many years, and in three surrealist manifestos (1924, 1930, 1942). His best creative work is considered the novel Nadja (1928), based partly on his own experiences. His poetry, in Selected Poems (1948; trans. 1969), reflects the influence of the poets Paul Valery and Arthur Rimbaud.