What is Surrealism?  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

What is Surrealism? (original French: Qu'est-ce que le surréalisme?) is a lecture by André Breton given in Brussels on June 1 1934 at a public meeting organised by the Belgian Surrealists at the maison des Huit Heures in Brussels, and issued as a pamphlet immediately afterwards by René Henriquez. At least one edition has Magritte's Le Viol as cover art. It was created for that purpose.

During the meeting he postulates a list of artists who "have professed absolute surrealism":

Louis Aragon, François Baron, Jacques-André Boiffard, André Breton, Jean Carrive, René Crevel, Joseph Delteil, Robert Desnos, Paul Éluard, Francis Gérard, Georges Limbour, Georges Malkine, Max Morise, Pierre Naville, Marcel Noll, Benjamin Péret, Gaetan Picon, Philippe Soupault, Roger Vitrac. --What is Surrealism?

There followed an enumeration that will gain, I think, by being clearly set out thus:

Young's Night Thoughts are surrealist from cover to cover. Unfortunately, it is a priest who speaks; a bad priest, to be sure, yet a priest.
Heraclitus is surrealist in dialectic.
Lully is surrealist in definition.
Flamel is surrealist in the night of gold.
Swift is surrealist in malice.
Sade is surrealist in sadism.
Carrier is surrealist in drowning.
Monk Lewis is surrealist in the beauty of evil.
Achim von Arnim is surrealist absolutely, in space and time
Rabbe is surrealist in death.
Baudelaire is surrealist in morals.
Rimbaud is surrealist in life and elsewhere.
Hervey Saint-Denys is surrealist in the directed dream.
Carroll is surrealist in nonsense.
Huysmans is surrealist in pessimism.
Seurat is surrealist in design.
Picasso is surrealist in cubism.
Jacques Vaché is surrealist in me.
Roussel is surrealist in anecdote. Etc.

This enumeration has slight variations with Breton's earlier first Surrealist Manifesto (Perse, Valmore, Carrier, see Surrealist_Manifesto#List_of_proto-surrealists).

Czech version

Published in Surrealismus with a cover by Karel Teige.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "What is Surrealism?" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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