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. 46, No. 1, Mysticism and Occultism in Modern Art (Spring, 1987), pp. 56-60 Published by: College Art Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/776843 Accessed: 01/05/2009 05:35
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Surrealism Before Freud: Dynamic Psychia try's "Simple Recording Instrument"
By Jennifer Gibson e generally assume, correctly it turns out, that Surrealism depends on ideas that came from psychiatry. The mistake that is always made is to assume that the psychiatry we know is the psychiatry Andre Breton and his friends understood. Freudian free association, which seems to parallel Surrealist automatic writing, requires the participation of two persons-a doctor (analyst) and a patient (analysand). The automatic techniques described by both Breton and Andre Masson are practiced by a single individual and duplicate methods of French dynamic psychiatry rather than Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic psychiatry (psychoanalysis). Dynamic psychiatry was the predominant method of mental treatment in France during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It commenced with Jean-Martin Charcot's study of hypnosis (his dramatic demonstrations at the Salpetriere attracted Freud to Paris) and reached its zenith with the work of Pierre Janet. Dynamic psychiatrists, such as Janet, drew on observations of spiritualist mediums, and the analogy of artist and medium was to be central for both Breton and Masson. Breton and Philippe Soupault's Les Champs magnetiques (1919) was the first systematic application of automatic writing. Breton baptized it the first work of Surrealism. Before sitting down to write, he and Soupault had tried to empty their minds of any conscious internal stimulation (willfulness) or external distraction (environmental stimulation). They assumed as passive a state as possible in order to concentrate the mind on itself. They then awaited the poetic phrases of an inner voice, which they immediately copied onto paper. W 56 Art Journal In September 1922, Rene Crevel introduced hypnotic trances to his Parisian friends.' Only two months later Breton published "Entree des mediums," in Litterature, which includes mention of the techniques for releasing the unconscious that he, Soupault, Crevel, Louis Aragon, Robert Desnos, and others had already tested: automatic writing, hypnotic trance, and dream narration.Breton recognized that when consciousness was relaxed, the unconscious became the main factor in their experiments. In "Entree des mediums" he had explicitly stated that the source of automatic writing, what he called "magical dictation," was the unconscious. He had also noted its elusiveness, for it fled at the slightest intrusion from the external world.3 Buoyed by the results of their experiments, Breton proposeda tentative definition of the movement: What our friends and I mean by surrealism is known, up to a certain point. This word is not of our invention and we might very well have left it to the most vague critical vocabulary, but we use it with a precise meaning: we are agreed it designates a certain psychic automatism, a near equivalent to the dream state, whose limits are today quite difficult to define.4 From 1922 to 1924, Breton continued to explore automatic techniques and in the Manifeste du surrealisme of October 1924 he finally codified the movement. Surrealism was "psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express-verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner-the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by thought, in the absence of any control by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern." Positing the essence of Surrealism in psychic automatism, Breton referredin the 1924 manifesto not to the "unconscious" but rather to "the depths of the mind."6 Nevertheless, it was the unconscious, existing independently of the palpable realm and its critical apparatus, but equally real, that represented for Breton a newly discovered inner reality. Breton saw Andre Masson's first one-man show at the Galerie Simon, he became interested in the artist and purchased Les Quatres Elements, which Breton considered the first Surrealist painting. It was not an automatic work, but reflected hermetic themes that preoccupied Masson at the time.7 Soon thereafter Breton went to the painter's studio. Even before the two met in the spring of 1924, Masson had completed several automatic drawings, which he said were done without premeditation.8 The Study for Nudes and Architecture (1923-24) is generally considered Masson's first automatic drawing.9 The sketch was a turning point away from Cubism towards a more personal style and expression. Masson continued to work in this automatic manner until 1927, producing thirty-six known drawings, including Furious Suns (Fig. 1) and Birth of Birds (Fig. 2).1? A continuum-of persons, animals, objects, and environment-was an essential characteristic of Masson's automatic works and in this suite of drawings represents the realization of his hermetic concerns. As the artist explained, Here is an important detail: to
\Wl hen in February-March 1924
A" ...... ,. A";''
Fig. 1 Andre Masson, Furious Suns, 1925, pen and ink, sheet: 165/8 x 121/2". The Museum of Modern Art.
hand had raced over the paper's surface. Masson believed that he was guided by an unknowninternal urge: "(a) The first condition was to make a clean slate. The mind freed from all apparent ties. Entry into a state bordering on trance. (b) Surrender to the interior tumult. (c) Speed of writing."12Unlike the artist who labors over his work, the practitioner of automatic drawing, according to Masson, should proceed as rapidly as his hand can move so that images emerge without conscious intervention. Masson's reference to writing signals his recognition of the similarity between his endeavor and that of the Surrealist writers. His description of automatic drawing is reminiscent of Breton's prescription for automatic writing in the Manifeste du surrealisme.13 Masson and Breton agreed that the writer should inscribe the words as quickly as possible with heed for neither their meaning nor the suitability of their context. Accordingly, Masson banned preconception from his automatic drawings.'4 He said it was like writing a letter to himself; he needed no aesthetic preparation, purpose, or research-the content of the drawing was a picture of his interior being.1 Masson compared his process of automatic drawing to that of a person thought to have the power to communicate with spirits of the dead, in short, a medium: "Automatic drawings are like the drawings of mediums: things develop without break between the moment of their realization until the realized object."16 Not until a work was far along did he begin to consider what he had done; only at that point did critical judgments enter the process.'7 everely wounded in the offensive at Chemin des Dames in April 1917, Masson spent the next months in a series of military hospitals, where he also suffered a mental breakdown. Since the treatment of choice at the time was dynamicpsychiatry,Masson probablyencounteredit duringhis hospitalization. Breton's interest in psychiatry had also begun in a wartime military hospital, in 1916 during his service as an orderly at Saint-Dizier in Nantes. The director of that facility, Raoul Leroy, exposed him to ideas that were seminal to his intellectual development and to techniques that he later incorporated into Surrealism.18Among the books he borrowed from Dr. Leroy was Emmanuel Regis's Precis de psychiatrie, first published in 1887 but revised in 1914 with material on Freud added.19Regis was one of the few psychiatrists in France who were keeping abreast of Freud's studies; nonetheless he believed that Freud owed a great debt to French
Fig. 2 Andre Masson, Birth of Birds, x 1925, pen and ink, sheet: 161/2 123/8". The Museum of Modern Art. make the bodies unite with an environment in order to create a space where as much as possible, following the hermetic definition, there is no longer either a top or a bottom-where that which is inside is also outside. . . . The secret is the penetration of diverse elements.l Figures, architecture,and abstract components merge in the drawings. Never focusing attention on any one part, Masson violated traditional composition and indicated his new attitude towards the page. With a furiously churning line, he formed images that seem to have been dashed across the sheet as though his
dynamic psychiatry and to Janet in particular.20Breton, who did not read German-Freud's work was not translated into French until 1921-gained his knowledge of psychoanalysis primarily through Regis's somewhat unsympathetic summary. R6gis's description of free association as "auto-analyse et des associations mentales" gave the impression that the procedure could be self-conducted, a particularly non-Freudian interpretation. Explaining the attitude necessary to conduct successful free association, Regis compared the subject to "a simple recording instrument": With the absolue neutrality of an unconcerned outside witness or, if you wish, of a simple recording instrument, the subject himself should jot down all the thoughts, whatever they are, that are crossing his mind. It is then up to the observer to single out in the sequence of these manifestations those which can lead the way to the initial pathogenic complex.21 Regis's analogy creates the impression that the patient becomes something of a machine that can speak and register words simultaneously. By implication, both the conscious and unconscious are functioning, the unconscious providing the material, the conscious taking note of it. This double service of the subject would obviate the need for a doctor to preservean account of the session. Since the subject can generate and note the associations without assistance, only the interpretation of the gathered information necessitates an analyst's attention. To be both transmitter and recorder requires that the patient maintain contact with reality. By remaining partly conscious, the subject avoids the danger of slipping into a totally unconscious state. The insane lose this vital link with reality; their isolation within a world of their own making precludes communication. Immediately captivated by Regis's phrase, Breton quoted it in a 1916 letter to Theodore Fraenkel.22 When Breton outlined the procedure for automatic writing in the 1924 Manifeste du surrealisme, he modified Regis's phrase to read "modest recordinginstruments": "But we, who have made no effort whatsoever to filter, who in our works have made ourselves into simple receptacles of so many echoes, modest recording instruments who are not mesmerized by the drawings we are making, perhaps we serve an even nobler cause."3 Ignoring Regis's criticism of Freud, Breton extracted from the summary in a selective manner. He focused on those parts of the text concerning free association Spring 1987 57
and the feasibility of its practice that could be interpreted to indicate that automatic writing is accessible to a healthy person. Regis's analogy was a common one in nineteenth-century France. The telegraph, by 1864 the major means of intracity communication, required that the operators (called enregistreurs) transcribe voices from afar-they acted as recording instruments. A poet who looked inward for his inspiration and then penned the words that he heard could consider himself an enregistreur. Indeed, Saint-Pol-Roux, who was much admired by the Surrealists, called his inspiration interior dictation: "Inspiration appears to me like internal dictation-actually a dictation that is subject to the poet's auspicious improvements and personal contributions-and sometimes so absolute is my surprise as the effaced collaboratorbefore the responsible proxy that such a poem of mine seems to be borrowed."24 In his study of the effects of the subconscious on creativity, the French psychologist, and Regis's student, Paul Chabaneix conducted a survey of writers, asking them to recall the sensations they felt while writing. Among those responding was an author who compared writing to the taking of dictation: "I do not think about what I am going to write.... I write quickly, without ever stopping, almost like a telegraphist who is recording a dispatch. It is obviously analogous to the way that the images of a dream or the words that sleepers utter, until awakened by their own voice, are born."25 Mediums shared the sensation that they copied words emanating from an unknown source. Their accounts prompted the noted psychologist and investigator of spiritism Theodore Flournoy to compare them to recorders: Let us ask the authors of mediumistic writings which come to light each year what part they have played in them besides their function as a writing machine through which the spirits operate. They will reply that their inspirations came to them not only without effort, but without any preparation or antecedent cause. Voila! We must agree that is truly marvelous, and beyond all ordinary conditions of mental production. And the spiritists certainly reason according to the most elementary common sense when they attribute to discarnate intelligences the authorship of these revelations, to which the organism of the medium is quite foreign, and has simply 58Art Journal
Distraction or the splitting of consciousness characterized the ill; Janet assumed that similar mental operations Dynamic psychiatry, in contrast to are in healthy individuals as psychoanalysis,incorporatedmany find- well.present He found that mediums shared the observation of ings gained through mediums. Janet included an extensive with hysterics both "disintegration of discussion of mediumship in his seminal personal perception" and "the formation of several personalities, which work, L' Automatisme psychologique sometimes succeed one another and (1889). In that book, Janet quoted a sometimes develop simultaneously"; passage from Charles Richet's Mouvetherefore, he judged mediums to be ments inconscients (1886) that, once appropriate healthy subjects for his again, employed the recorderanalogy: study. Janet included a lengthy discusThese unconscious movements are sion of the history of mediumshipand its not delivered by chance; they folsimilarities to hysteria in L'Automatisme psychologique.33 low, at least when working with certain mediums, a truly logical Freud limited his patients to oral direction that reveals beside the exposition during free association; Janet conscious thought, which is nordid not. And, in contrast to Freud, he mal and regular for the medium, did not emphasize the interpretation of the simultaneous existence of anthe automatic text but was more conother parallel thought that follows cerned with reaching the fixed idea, its own cycles and that would not which in turn would allow him to sugbe visible to consciousness if gest a cure to the patient. In his account it had not been revealed to the of mediumism and in his discussion of outside by this strange recording patients, Janet focused on the action of instrument.27 the subject rather than on the interacMediums believed that they were in tion of two persons, whether a medium contact with the dead; psychiatry and a client or a patient and a doctor. assumes that the source of inspiration His approachwas dictated by his discovery that most successful mediums wrote emanates from within the individual. Breton never mentioned Janet's name without any conscious awareness: "His in the early period of Surrealism and hand, drawn by a movement that he did so only occasionally in the following does not understand, writes-without the help of either his will or thoughtyears.28Yet, Breton's partner in automatic writing, Soupault, repeatedly things of which he is unaware and that names Janet as one of the most signifi- are a complete surprise to read aftercant influences on their development wards."34A medium does not require and has expressed his surprise at Bre- the presence of another person to note ton's failure to do so. According to Sou- his words but acts as both transmitter and recorder. pault, when Breton and he reached an Janet recognized that the words impasse in 1919, they adopted Janet's transcribedhad to be clear and being compremethod of automatic writing, of which hensible if they were to have any value. they had learned in L'Automatisme psy- A distracted patient, as well as a chologique. It instantly opened an unexuniverse.29 Janet had studied the medium, often writes in a distorted plored manner, repeating a letter or phrase, discovery made by the earliest practitioners of hypnotism (then called mag- placing only one letter on a page, or words into gibberish. Several of netism) that a subject in a trance could turning Janet's patients wrote legible phrases in be coaxed to draw, paint, or write, but This scientific evidence that he would have no recollection of a legible hand.35 verifying the suppositionthat automatic these activities on awakening. writing need not be incomprehensible was an essential discovery for Breton, Janet's experiments confirmed the who wished to capture the unconscious existence of divided activity: a subvoice for the delectation and improveject could converse with one person ment of consciousness. The words and while simultaneously and without recoghad to be familiar and undernition of the action write answers to grammar standable or the message would be lost. questions being whispered in his ear. The intellectual formulationof automatJanet termed this type of writing, done ism, as well as Janet's process for autoduring moments of distraction, auto- matic writing, was nearly duplicated in matic.30 He also learned that some the technique that Breton developed. patients could speak automatically. The Although Janet believed that autoprocedure he established, which re- matism resulted from a weakness or a quired a patient to talk at random in of the conscious personality order to reach his subconscious fixed disabling and that it seldom occurred in the presideas and dreams, presaged Freud's free ence of perfect mental health, he admitassociation.3" ted that automatism appeared with
served as a channel or passive instrument.26
some regularity, outside the context of mediumship, in seemingly healthy individuals.36 Usually taking place during the transition between waking and sleeping, these episodes of hallucinatory images were identical to the experiences of hysterics.37 It was at that very moment of passage from a waking to a sleeping state that Breton had his first automatic experience. Describing it initially in "Entree des mediums," he mentioned it again in the Manifeste du surrealisme: "One evening, therefore, before I fell asleep, I perceived, so clearly articulated that it was impossible to change a word, but nonetheless removed from the sound of any voice, a Thereafter he rather strange phrase."38 tried to duplicate while awake a similar condition of distraction, which would allow him to write down the words that he heard. In Janet's terminology he sought to replicate willfully a dissociation of the personality common to cases of hysteria.
leaves the spectator free to ponder any one image, while keeping in mind that it is also a part of a whole that loosely hangs together by the thread that is the line. Therein lay Masson's contribution to the evolution of Surrealist art. urrealism emerged just when one method of peering into the mind, Janet's dynamic psychiatry, was eclipsed in France by a new form of psychiatry, psychoanalysis. Breton's knowledge of the former had been gained in school and in the military; his comprehensionof the latter was still at a rudimentarylevel in 1924. The dynamic psychiatry of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries provided him with the armature for the automatic methods the Surrealists employed to delve into the unconscious;psychoanalysis served as an overlay that permitted an elaboration and expansion of their theory of psychic automatism. Masson's practice of the automatic techniques paralleled the activities of the poets, while never imitating the efforts of his literary comrades. When Masson made an automatic drawing, he assumed the role of a medium and his hand moved by the impulses of his unconscious. The resulting drawings had a startling freedom unmatched in their time. His line revealed the realm of dreams where time and space are not subject to terrestrial restrictions. These works depended on assumptions posited by dynamic psychiatry and inherited, ultimately, from the intuitions of magic and mystery.
8 Ibid., pp. 26-27. Masson said that he had begun the automatic drawings at the end of 1923 or the beginning of 1924. 9 Carolyn Lanchner, "Andre Masson: Origins and Development," in William Rubin and Carolyn Lanchner, Andre Masson, New York, 1976, p. 101; Gilbert G. Guiraud, "Les Dessins automatiques d'Andr6 Masson, 1924-1927," M6moire pr6sent6 pour l'obtention de la Maitrise Sp6cialis6e d'Histoire de l'Art et d'Arch6ologie, Universit6 de Toulouse-Le Mirail, 1981, 2 vols., Vol. 2, p. 28. Three additional automatic drawings from 1924 may have been done prior to the meeting of Breton and Masson. Two of these were published in the first issue of La Revolution surrealiste in December 1924. The third has been dated by both William Rubin, "Andr6 Masson and Twentieth-Century Painting," in Rubin and Lancher, p. 19, and Guiraud, Vol. 1, fig. 4. 10 These two drawings were published in La Revolution surrealiste, no. 5 (October 1925): Soleils furieux on p. 7, La Naissance des oiseaux on p. 22. Guiraud (cited n. 9) has classified thirty-six automatic drawings done between 1924 and 1927. 11 Andr6 Masson, quoted on Jean-Paul Cle6bert, Mythologie d'Andre Masson, Geneva, 1971, p. 32: "Ici un d6tail important:faire fusionner les corps avec un environmentpour cr6er un espace ouf, autant que possible, suivant la d6finition herm6tique, il n'y a plus ni haut ni bas; ofuce qui est au dedans est, aussi, au dehors.... Le secret, c'est la penetration des 1eements divers." 12 Andr6 Masson, "Le Peintre et ses fantasmes," Les Etudes philosophique, no. 4 (OctoberDecember 1956), p. 635: "a) La condition premiere 6tait de lib6rer l'esprit de tous liens apparents. Entr6e dans un 6tat voisin de celui de transe. b) L'abandon au tumulte interieur. c) La rapidit6d'6criture." 13 Breton (cited n. 5), Manifesto, pp. 29-30: "After you have settled yourself in a place favorable as possible to the concentration of your mind upon itself, have writing materials brought to you. Put yourself in as passive, or receptive, a state of mind as you can. Forget about your genius, your talents, and the talents of everyone else.... Write quickly, without any preconceived subject, fast enough so that you will not remember what you are writing and be tempted to reread what you have written." 14 Masson (cited n. 7), pp. 80-81. 15 Ibid., pp. 83, 78. 16 Ibid., pp. 80-81: "Les dessins automatiques sont comme des dessins de m6diums:les choses se font sans solution de continuit6 entre le moment de la r6alisation et l'objet realise." 17 Cle6bert (cited n. 11), p. 33. 18 Andr6 Breton, Entretiens (1913-1952), Paris, 1969, p. 29. 19 Emmanuel R6gis, Precis de psychiatrie, 5th ed., Paris, 1914.
Janet and Breton demanded that the writer exclude external stimuli and conscious thought and allow his pen to move without preconception. The words or images should emerge as if by their own volition. Breton carefully distinguished his automatic writing from that of mediums. He had immediately dismissed any possibility of communication with the dead: "It goes without saying that at no moment, from the day when we agreed to be party to these experiments, did we adopt the spiritualistic point of view. With regard to myself, I absolutely refuse to grant that any communication exists between the Notes living and the dead."39Janet'sresearch This material for this article is drawn from "Surproved that the voice need not come realism's Early Maps of the Unconscious," Ph.D. from the "other side," but that it resided dissertation, University of Virginia, 1985. in every individual. What for Janet had 1 Andr6 Breton, "Entr6e des m6diums," Les Pas been a therapeutic technique became for perdus, Paris, 1924, p. 27, chronicled the the Surrealists a tool for reaching the experiments of the nascent Surrealist group, unknown. including their first forays into hypnosis. Like Breton's automatic writing, the 2. Ibid., p. 125. procedure Masson established for automatic drawing bears many affinitieswith 3. Ibid. the automatic techniques described by 4. Ibid., pp. 123-24, trans. in Marcel Jean, The Janet. Masson's automatic drawingsAutobiography of Surrealism, New York, both in those done prior to his affiliation 1980, p. 101. Guillaume Apollinaire, not Brewith the Surrealists and afterwardston, coined the term "surrealism." First using the word in a notice that he wrote for the paralleled the techniques of the automatic writers without copying their form program of Parade in May, 1917, Apollinaire described Diaghilev's productionas "une sorte or subject. Eschewingnarrative,his autodu sur-r6alisme." matic drawings present a flickering of images similar to a dream, and hence 5 Andr6 Breton, Manifesto of Surrealism in defy verbal approximation. Manifestoes of Surrealism, trans. Richard Employing an allover composition Seaver and Helen R. Lane, Ann Arbor, 1972, that, filling the page, displays the freep. 26. dom of his hand, Masson achieved a 6 Ibid., p. 10. simultaneity that encourages the viewer's eye to travel, unguided, over the 7 Andre Masson, Vagabond du surrealisme, marks on the paper: there is no beginParis, c. 1975, p. 31. ning or end, but a continuous line. This
20 Marguerite Bonnet, Andre Breton: Naissance de l'aventure surrealiste, Paris, 1975, p. 99. In La Psychoanalyse de nevroses et des psychoses: Ses applications medicales et extra medicales (Paris, 1914), which Regis wrote with his former student and the then psychiatric specialist of the French Navy, Angelo Hesnard, the authors survey the theories of Freud and his disciples and repeatedly note the significant influence of Janet on the evolution of psychoanalysis. 21 R6gis (cited n. 19), p. 40; Bonnet (cited n. 20), p. 104: "Le sujet doit noter lui-meme, avec la neutralit6 absolue d'un t6moin etranger, indifferentou, si l'on veut, d'un simple appareil enregistreur,toutes les pens6es, quelles qu'elles soient qui traversentsont esprit. C'est ensuite a l'observateura distinguer dans la succession de ces manifestations id6atives, celles qui peuvent mettre sur la voie du complexe pathogene initial." 22 Bonnet (cited n. 20), pp. 103-4, includes excerpts from Breton's letter to Fraenkel, August 31, 1916. 23 Breton (cited n. 5), pp. 27-28; Manifeste du surrealisme, Paris, 1924, pp. 44-45: "Mais nous, qui ne nous sommes livr6s a aucun travail de filtration, qui nous sommes faits dans nos oeuvres les sourds r6ceptacles de tant d'echos, les modestes appareils enregistreurs qui ne s'hypnotisent pas sur le dessin qu'il tracent, nous servons peut-etre encore un plus noble cause." 24 Le Poete, cited by Alain Jouffroy, Saint-PolRoux, Paris, 1966, p. xv: "L'inspiration m'apparait comme une dictee int6rieure-dict6e soumise en v6rit6 aux amendements et aux apports personnels du poete a la merci de l'heure-et si absolue est quelquefois ma surprise de collaborateur effac6 devant le mandataire responsable que tel poeme mien me semble un emprunt." 25 Paul Chabaneix, Essai sur le subconscient dans les oeuvres de l'esprit et chez leurs auteurs, Bordeaux, 1897, p. 90: "Je ne pense pas a ce que je vais 6crire ... j'ecris vite, sans jamais m'arreter, presque comme un t6elegraphiste qui enregistre une depeche. C'est evidemment d'une facon analogue que naissent les images du reve et les paroles que prononcentles dormeurs, jusqu'a s'eveiller par leur propre voix." 26 Th6odore Flournoy,Spiritism and Psychology, trans. Hereward Carrington, New York, 1911, pp. 434-35. Breton admired Fluornoy's researchon mediums. In his 1933 "Le Message automatique" (Point du jour, Paris, 1934, p. 170), Breton referred to "the admirable explorations of Th6odore Flournoy." He went on in the essay to discuss Flournoy's research with Smith and reproducedone of her drawH6elene ings with the text when it was first published in Minotaure 3-4 (December 14, 1933). Breton also cited the pioneering work of Frederic W.H. Myers, one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research in Great Britain, whose scientific study of spiritism was admired by Janet (see below, n. 33).
27 Pierre Janet, L'Automatisme psychologique, 10th ed., Paris, 1930, p. 403: "Ces mouvements inconscients ne sont pas livr6s hasard; ils suivent, au moins lorsqu'onopere avec certains mediums, une vraie direction logique qui permet de d6montrer, a c6t6 de la pens6e consciente, normale, r6guliere du medium, l'existence simultan6e d'une autre pens6e collat6rale qui suit ses p6riodes propres, et qui n'apparaitrait pas a la conscience, si elle n'etait pas reve616e dehors par ce bizarre appareil au d'enregistrement." Charles Richet (1850-1935), a professor of physiology at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris and winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1913 for his work on anaphylaxis (the hypersensitive reaction of the body to foreign proteins), was in the forefront of psychical research in France. His scientific approach gained the respect of otherwise sceptical colleagues. 28 See: Andr6 Breton, "Le M6decine mentale devant le surr6alisme,"Point du jour (cited n. 26), pp. 88-93. The essay was originally published in Le Surrealisme ASDLR 2 (October 1930). Anna Balakian was the first scholar to discuss Janet's importance for Breton (Andre Breton: Magus of Surrealism, New York, 1971, pp. 28-34). Balakian cites a number of parallels between the ideas of Janet and Breton and notes that Janet's work was mandatory reading in French medical schools when Breton was a medical student. 29 Philippe Soupault, Vingt Mille et un jours (Entretiens avec Serge Fauchereau), Paris, 1980, p. 64. See also: idem, "Souvenirs," Nouvelle Revue Francaise (April 1, 1967), pp. 664-65; and "Origines et d6but du surr6alisme," Europe, 475-476 (November-December 1968), p. 4. 30 Janet (cited n. 27), p. 227. Janet recounted several case studies in his Mental State of Hystericals, trans. Caroline Rolling Corsin, New York, 1901. 31 Janet noted a case of automatic talking in Mental State of Hystericals (cited n. 30), pp. 100-1. He announced his discoveries at the International Congress on Experimental Psychology-Second Session, held in London in August 1892. 32 Janet (cited n. 27), p. 413: "la desagr6gationde la perceptionpersonnelle"and "la formationde plusieurs personnalit6squi tant6t se succedent et tantot se d6veloppentsimultanement." 33 Ibid., pp. 376, 403. Janet specifically cited two articles by Frederic W.H. Myers, both published in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research: "On a Telepathic Explanation of Some So-Called Spiritualistic Phenomena" 2 (November 1884), pp. 217-37; and "Automatic Writing" 3 (January 1885), pp. 1-63. 34 Janet (cited n. 27), p. 380: "Sa main, entraln6e par un mouvement dont il ne se rend pas compte, 6crit, sans le concours de sa volonte ni de sa pensee, des choses qu'il ignore lui-meme et qu'il est tout surprisde lire ensuite." 35 Ibid., pp. 243-44, 263-64.
36 Ibid., pp. 336-37. 37 Ibid., pp. 460-61. 38 Breton (cited n. 5), p. 21. 39 Breton (cited n. 1), p. 127: "II va sans dire qu'a aucun moment, du jour of nous avons consenti a nous preter a ces experiences, nous n'avons adopt6 le point de vue spirite. En ce qui me concerne je me refuse formellement a admettre qu'une communication quelconque existe entre les vivants et les mortes."
Jennifer Gibson is the Visual Arts Specialist, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Prince Georges's County, Maryland.
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