Andre Breton

(19 February 1896 – 28 September 1966 / Normandy)

Quotations

  • ''Leave everything. Leave Dada. Leave your wife. Leave your mistress. Leave your hopes and fears. Leave your children in the woods. Leave the substance for the shadow. Leave your easy life, leave what you are given for the future. Set off on the roads.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French Surrealist. "Lâchez tout!" Les Pas Perdus (1924).
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  • ''Nothing retains less of desire in art, in science, than this will to industry, booty, possession.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Mad Love, ch. 3 (1937, trans. 1987).
  • ''The work of art, just like any fragment of human life considered in its deepest meaning, seems to me devoid of value if it does not offer the hardness, the rigidity, the regularity, the luster on every interior and exterior facet, of the crystal.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Mad Love, ch. 1 (1937, trans. 1987).
  • ''It is living and ceasing to live that are imaginary solutions. Existence is elsewhere.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French Surrealist. repr. In Manifestoes of Surrealism (1969). Manifesto of Surrealism (1924).
  • ''To reduce the imagination to a state of slavery—even though it would mean the elimination of what is commonly called happiness—is to betray all sense of absolute justice within oneself. Imagination alone offers me some intimation of what can be.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French Surrealist. repr. In Manifestos of Surrealism (1969). Manifesto of Surrealism (1924).
  • ''Surrealism, n. Pure psychic automatism, by which it is intended to express, whether verbally or in writing, or in any other way, the real process of thought. Thought's dictation, free from any control by the reason, independent of any aesthetic or moral preoccupation.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. repr. In Manifestos of Surrealism (1969). "Manifesto of Surrealism," (1924).
  • ''Perhaps I am doomed to retrace my steps under the illusion that I am exploring, doomed to try and learn what I should simply recognize, learning a mere fraction of what I have forgotten.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Nadja (1928).
  • ''Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or will not be at all.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Nadja (1928).
  • ''Everything tends to make us believe that there exists a certain point of the mind at which life and death, the real and the imagined, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable, high and low, cease to be perceived as contradictions.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. repr. In Manifestos of Surrealism (1969). "Second Manifesto of Surrealism," (1930).
  • ''The approval of the public is to be avoided like the plague. It is absolutely essential to keep the public from entering if one wishes to avoid confusion. I must add that the public must be kept panting in expectation at the gate by a system of challenges and provocations.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. repr. In Manifestos of Surrealism (1969). "Second Manifesto of Surrealism," (1930).

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Postman Cheval

We are the birds always charmed by you from the top of these belvederes
And that each night form a blossoming branch between your shoulders and the arms of your well beloved wheelbarrow
Which we tear out swifter than sparks at your wrist
We are the sighs of the glass statue that raises itself on its elbow when man sleeps
And shining holes appear in his bed
Holes through which stags with coral antlers can be seen in a glade
And naked women at the bottom of a mine
You remembered then y

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