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Source: Yale French Studies, No. 2, Modern Poets: Surrealists, Baudelaire, Perse, Laforgue (1948), pp. 67-78 Published by: Yale University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2928881 . Accessed: 24/08/2011 09:38
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"digression"which is of little interest 67 .largelycompensatedsurrealismfor these maniacal anticipations. It would have been rather piquant to show that they had followed upon one another almost monthlysince the date of its foundation! Criticism-thatof reviews. A recent letter from Andre Breton informsus that the Speech has been reprintedtwice recentlyin France. in fact. In another realm the resultwas the incontestableworld triumphof the art of imagination and creation over the art of imitation. When I was still in France. With all due respectsto some impatientgrave-diggers.twenty yearslater. that is to say. as much fromthe viewpoint of feeling-experiences emotion as from that of clairvoyance.This is the first with the consent of English translationto appear anywhere. I thinkI know a littlemore than they do about what the finalhour of surrealismwould mean: it would be the birth * Andre Breton's "Speech to the Studentsof Yale". Surrealism is. a triumph consecrated by the unprecedentedbrillianceof the last internationalexhibitionof surrealism in Paris. necessarilyin relation to them. I mention this now only in order to forestallthe effect upon you of a recrudescenceof these prophecies under cover of war during which one is always hard put to it to know who is living and who is not. It began in 1919 with the publication in the review Litteratureof the firstchaptersof Champs Magndtiques.of books-has. and it apparentlyremains a key reference-point. We have taken the libertyof removingan introductory now. the only organized intellectual movementwhich has succeeded in spanning the distance which separates the wars. presented in 194a.the extent of its conquest. anyway. I know: even during these last monthsat Yale you have probably heard it said that surrealismis dead.and it is offered the surrealistleader.ANDRE BRETON Of Surrealism The Situation BetweenThe Two Wars I have chosen to speak to you concerningthe situation of surrealismbetween the two wars. is actually an importantmanifestoof the surrealistmovement. in which surrealismreturns freelyupon itself to confrontthe great of the past and to evaluate. I had promised myselfto display in public one day everything which I had been able to collect in the way of newspaper articlesbuilt on this theme: surrealismis done for. to result.in the appearance of the Chateau d'Argol of Julien Gracq. a work writtenin collaboration by Soupault and myselfand in which automatic writingas an avowed method is given free play for the firsttime.
my best friendsand I would make it a point of honor to rally around such a movementimmediately. at least in its most crucial presentations of these last twenty years. Comprehended for the moment between these limits. what is that narrow "reason" which has structure been taughtus if that reason must. tabula rasa of conventionalmodes of thought? If I said that. in the avant-garde between the two wars. I feltpoor. I ask. it is unfortunately easier to understand the necessityof this adjustment.to enjoin it to count only upon itself. From the moment that the surrealistattitude found a clear voice. ministeringto the whole emotionalregionwhichstretches between these two explosions.beforeyou. Archingas it does above the current of feelingwhich flowsbetween them. which can flatteritself for never having learned anything.the arm of the scales.Yale French Studies of a new movement with an even greater power of liberation. it was less in my own name than in the name of the men of my age.at the outset.to exhort it to not let itselfbe too quickly dispossessedof its treasures.yield place to the unreason of wars?Must not that pretendedreason be a lure.and that it is a sacrilegeto object to the principleson which its psychic is founded! But what. Moreover. Historically.But it is apparent that this new movementhas not surrealismcan claim unchallenged the place which it held arisen. because of that very dynamic forcewhich we continue to place above all. must it not be usurpingthe rightsof a true unyieldingreason which we must substitutefor it at all costs and towardswhich we can move only by making.is told to returnat the end of the month with its invoice. which. two successivegenerationssee the sun of their twenty years approaching only to be rushed onto the battlefields. returnsto yawn above the waters. Today the waves of youth break upon things other than the shadow of the 68 . Now that the stormis again fullyunleashed. During and it is this contradiction this time life has nonethelessresumedall its forms. it was to exalt youth.nothingcan keep it fromsymbolizing.nothing can prevent it fromthrowinga bridgebetweenthe beatificfadingof one and the blind and anguished approach of the other. So-called common sense.fromlife to life. What! Humanity tears itself apart more efficiently than in its earliest stages.in the periods of flatcalm. which surrealismhas had to face in order to propose a swiftreadjustmentof values.sees itself convicted of impotenceand must flee. Once again positivisticrealism.and one would have us believe that this humanityknows how to rule itself. flailed with derision.surrealism follows a route which goes from the repercussionin psychologicaland moral life of the firstcatastropheto the rapid apprehension of the second.
of revelation-withall that this word implies of the absolute-in the message of a Lautreamont dead at the age of of a Rimbaud. twenty-seven years. or for their sons. since it has never ceased proclaimingan unequalled radiation. What was the intellectual situation at this moment?Many intellectshad be draggedbackwardsto a bellicose outbiddingwhich failed.of a twenty-four. while doing this. I think I rememberthat despair was verygreat: the outcome of the armed strugglehad long been most uncertain Those who returned. But.a little haggard and after all somewhat angry at seeing themselvesso sparse.to Novalis.But these far too embryonic states of consciousnesswill be swept away. after throwinga suspicious glance around. a sense.Ubu roi. This gallery could be extended to Saint-Just. to close at Chirico. Can it be that such examples will not finally arm youth with all its credentials. than the ruinsof Stalingrad. to Jarrywho at fifteen years of age wrote the great prophetic and avenging play of modern times. a limitlessaffirmation of faith in the genius of youth. Observe that after the first war emphasis was placed with much less precision than today on the ideological conflict.I should be verymuch the surrealist that summons. From now on the futurebelongs I repeat.ANDRE BRETON palm treesof Guadalcanal. for whom the gates of a world opened at twenty-three twenty-eight.Fascism not having yet been therewere opposed theoretically formulated.this plus the tribute of overflowing blood which the world has the habit of claiming fromit periodically? Won't it finally Or will youthpermitits bold give it a preponderantvoice in the deliberations? solutions to be treated once again as child play and deferred? Such.and the sands of Lybia.had let themselves 69 . was born from to the power of that youthand of it alone. that it has not feared to attack its has investigated that it has boldly undertakento rewrite it. Surrealism. of summonsat the end of the war of 1914-18. decided to turn over the page.guillotined at to Seurat. Youth's own virtue masks the insufficient states of consciousness that have caused its returninto a deliriumof iron and fire. hardlyconcealing amid European countriesa growingconflict of interests sharpened on eternal grudges and neighbors' quarrels. promulgatedagain with vastlygreaterforce.theytook back into their confidence the same book which reserved for them. approxiis content of the surrealistinterrogation mately. only ratherthreadbareconceptions of the world. however localized. premises. the same terriblealarms. One must admit that it has never reneged on this point.were not surprisedif at the end of this war that interrogation. one may say. I do not hesitate to say that surrealism the verysense of the book. who died at thirty. who at eighteenyears had finishedhis works. dead at thirty-two. the and.
Closer up. Vale'ry had confined himselfto poetical exercises which were intenselynon-involved. in spirit. the greatestpoet of this Guillaume Apollinaire. in a 70 . which may pass for his spiritual testament: 0 mouthsman is in search of a new speech in which no language's grammarianwill have a say The word is sudden. less numerous. inasmuch as he had done his best to "sing the war. Claudel. the man whom I have seen with were yesterday myown eyes incarnateto the highestdegree the spiritof intellectualadventure. in the pale blue second lieutenant's Enormous. he advances a little like a balloon along the roadway of the Boulevard de Saint-Germain. had remained silent: they were not blamed too much. In France this rang false and for which the combattants was the case with Bergson. Proust to studies of social milieux which events seemed not to have been able even to touch: paradoxically. beyond this. less.it is quite clear froma distance that automatic writing and the various other forms of automatic expression put into practise by have directlyreplied to this wish of Apollinaire by furnishing surrealism every man with the means of reawakeningat will the God of whom he spoke. that disk and that lesion which Chirico traced distinctlyin the portraitwhich he made of Apollinaire in 1915.disdainful of the sidewalks-the taxis are still at the front-emerging fromhis domicile at the Cafe de Flore. at least. and it is a God who trembles. it is because he has been much closer than anyone to thinkingthat in to re-establish it on a more just order to better the world it wasn't sufficient social basis. the manifest one of the last of his worksand one of the most hermeticin detail. had just died fromthe resultsof a wound on century. who were absolved. That is. the eye at once banteringand so anxious.Val6ry. neverthethe veryday of the armistice. keeping it carefullyapart from that which had just taken place-this was especially the case with the paintersMatisse. Literallyspeaking.had carried on their work. surmountedby the leather disk which coversup the trepanningscar. I nonethelesssee again as if it that man singular among all.Yale French Studies did not forgivethem. Barrds. Apollinaire: if I speak at length of him. buckled with great difficulty uniform. what he is asking for goes even farther. like Gide. Certain ones. Picasso.and. But I believe that. but that it was necessary.it wasn't going to be long before these men would be paid for theirdetachmentwith the highesthonors. Already a centerof attractionfor some young people. by a pure act of divination two years before the wound. He had insistedon riskinghis life. Others." one had to recognize that his great abilities had often betrayedhim.to touch upon the essence of sense of his great poem La Victuire the Verb. that is to say.
they seemed merelyto fill an emptyplace whose destinationpoint was still doubtful or unforeseen by the language. in the futureas a kind of verbal nightmare. Alas.During it. seems to have foretoldand called for somethinganalogous when he said. with great respect.in its source. yes. that of prejudices. in agreement.ANDRE BRETON which short story of about twentypages. moreover. we must give back possessionof the key to the first to man nothing less than the sentimentof his absolute dependence upon the of all men. attractingin his wake the beasts of Orpheus. one spoke more than one ever had before. The more we talk. . of detail which the vast extent of his work may call Whatever the reservations could for and which are the least debt that a man can pay to non-infallibility. of his character: "At times. Denis de Rougemont can write in all objectivity:"Must it be thought that Or that words don't mean anypeople kill each other over misunderstandings? thing any more? . one ever have concentratedmore truthso new. where the word is uttered at so much the second whetheror not thereare auditors. we shall have Without forgetting The to non-directed that source. About the same time that I used to watch Apollinaire strolling down the Boulevard de Saint Germain.The twentiethcenturywill appear Death alone puts everybody of delirious cacophony. I have heard him designatea materialobject by a group of abstract words and proper nouns.that an individual should bring succour of today.whetheror not there to say. but there is no reason to no doubt have difficulty despair of his coming.essential in the scope of a thought. . But some have fallen so low that the use of energetic community remediescannot be avoided. It is not impossible.time of the wide-spread to be the measure of the true. neithernight nor day.He to whose lot it would fall to bring it would amid the great distress in making himselfknown." That which is expected and spiritsmeritsour attentionmore than ever encouraged by two such different at a time when. sounding the abyss which the news of each day digs before us. thought puts us in to appeal to remount room. what have we done with the word?" the other changes which are necessary.a life? And tell me if the hardest rock.and of which the gospel says that. dominatesby far the rest of his work. Teste. writtenat the age of twenty-five. of 71 . the less we understand each other.La Sairee avec M. To enter the second. Imagine those radio sets which cannot keep silent any more. I discovered that someone all alone had just pierced the night of ideas in the region where it was thickest:I speak of Sigmund Freud. crying. A time when words were used up more quickly than in any is anything of that ward which was of prostitution century History. they [his words] lost all their meaning. it is 'the life and the light of men.
of such extremeimportanceso perseveringly were there many communications uncomprehended. Not only have wordsbecome amazinglylax.by harnessingit to strictly to becloud it. I am not so mad as to say: the universality of knowledge. which is language.as Rougemont also says. but at least the a appetite for universal knowledge.with no prejudice. Well. For its realization there is lacking only. psychology have done-the most general contact.Studies Yale French did not split as soon as this finger of light taboos." to Val6ry the key to the lapsus. This can take place provided we fightagainst the depreciation out of sight of the true coinage. Tower of Babel. if fromthis rock the word did not spring limpid. during a tude before finishing to representto Apollinaire.-but that can change- 72 . And yet. since the dawn of this century-The Interpretationof Dreams appeared in i0oo-until the entryof the Nazis into Vienna in 1938.at least until others. in spite of my pains. pointed upon it. throughFreud-whose name was then known in France only to a few psychiatrists-had appeared to me capable of upsettingthe mental world and also extremefromtop to bottom. to Valery. Today we are placed before this double problem at least: to recover the meanings of words and to rediscover.we discernfromanotherpoint of view the modern sympathy. began radiant. between human beings. beyond propitious economic conditions. in fact. or better. not only is it true that. I succeeded only in provokingsmiles from all three of them or in having myselftapped on the shoulder with friendly For here.to Gide leave in Paris.of immemorial dissimulations.I was then verymuch given to enthusiasm ly anxious to share my convictionswith those who were importantto me-the cured of thisquirk-and I remember that rumoris about that I am not entirely I held out to each of my victimsthe bait which he could least resist: to Apollinaire "Pansexualism. I triedsuccessively that which. Observe that it was quite otherwisein that period so quickly decried. to Gide the Oedipus complex. many irreplaceable existencespaid for so long with ingratiin persecution?I was twentyyears old when. and provided we oppose the developmentof that malignant tumor: the division of the world into castes of individualsmore and more narrowly specialized. and desirable again those human exchanges which We must make fruitful are absorbed today in denyingthemselves throughthe exchange of machine-gun firealone. the Middle Ages. utilitarianends."Our language is out of joint. This somethingwill be." but the intellects which may be considered in our day as masterfulare expert only in their specialty: they don't mind at all professing ignorance as soon as one attempts to take them out of their sphere. It is a question of keeping our eyes untiringlyopen for anythingwhich has a chance of re-establishing-as already art.
the Apollin- 73 . which generallydo not deceive. whycertaininterdictions have been brusquelyissued."I see the bent-overforeheads of the greatestthinkers of the nineteenthcentury collectingat the bottom of the crucible that certaintywhich seems like nothing and which is all: "Libertyis necessity realized.yes. those which carryso much fartherthan their words.Liberty: whatever grosslyabusive use one may have attemptedto make of it.ANDRE BRETON only a spectacular discovery. From one war to the other. whereasit has been demonstrated.one may say that it is the passionate quest of libertywhich has been the constantmotive of surrealistaction. In my own'opinion. the Mallarmc of Un Coup de Des. that freest spiritwho has ever existed. irl some more or less manifestway. work-blackened." The thing that echoes now like a challenge. it is still this briefnotation of Apollinaire: "The Marquis de Sade. that is to say.of course." I retain my capacity for this excitement. on the way. inexorable. Lautilamont.manyways of breakingfaithwith it.Liberty: and there immediatelyblaze up in my mind the oldest. To those who periodically ask why certain schisms have taken place within the surrealist movement.Since liberty is reveredin its pure state by surrealists. the most importantsymbolists (Maeterlinck. "the only thing which can still excite me is the word liberty. At the beginning of the firstmanifestoof surrealismin 1924 I wrote. the harshest. this word is not at all corrupted.growingfrom the rubble under which certain individuals had sworn to smotherit. praised in all its forms." And I see mountingup. it was for example breaking faith to come back.Saint-Pol-Roux).and immediatelymy memoryis taken by some of the most meaningfulphrases that I know. have already led us to believe that it will arise in the realm of physics. the conscience of the workingclass. surrealists. therewere.the most exciting disputes of theologians. it is thisword which commands the inscriptionthat his crony Peain could not bear on the face of public monuments. and clenchedfist. especially in the French language-and the exceptional radiance of French poetry since Romanticismauthorizesa generalizationof this viewpoint-that the quality of fromnothingso much as fromthe will to liberate lyricexpressionhas benefited from outworn rules: Rimbaud. as did certain of the old to fixedforms of poetry.I believe I can reply with all honestythat. in which libertytakes on today the aspect of the most delicate woman's handkerchiefheld by a massive. have broken faith with liberty.concerning which certain advance signs. those have been eliminated who.It is the only word whichwould burn the tongueof Goebbels. I hear the voice of Saint-Just thundering:"No libertyfor the enemies of liberty.
I mean-from 1919 to 1939-in relation at the same time to the war fromwhich it issues and the war to which it extends. and throughwhose veins no new blood has been able to circulatefor the past twenty years."or to go so far as. gilding with obsequious academism the portrait of the Spanish ambassador. Certainlythis and lack of foreepoch was measured in France by a limitlessunconsciousness sight.foreseennothing. in the same epoch. for mind. can be understoodhistorically I insist on the fact that surrealism only in relation to the war. theirblindness has in no way been shared. equally true of painting: in place of the preceding names it would sufficeto write down those of Van Gogh. Does this mean to have had a clear intuition of our new sliding towards the say that surrealists * Breton's anagram for Salvador Dali. Rousseau. Over Conquered Country. To find oneself in disgracebefore her. prolonging the life of parties theyno longer believe in. of Franco. it is incontestablethat it has rolled on the ball-bearingsof the worst smugnessand laziness.of the representative of the portraitpreciselyowes the oppressionof his counry. I hold that." And thatwould be. having long since given their mediocre measure. and for liberty. the great poet Garcia Lorca-Franco: one knows only too well the regardsFranco has for life. Picasso. Matisse. If these men have understoodnothing. underliningthe wretchedness canvasses of the time with a fascisttitle like "Roman Legionnaires Looking Avida Dollars*.and most notably in surrealism. in the vanguard of disinterested intellectualspeculation. It is also to have broken faith with libertyto have renounced expressingoneself personally(and by that very fact dangerously. 74 . Duchamp.neither theynor the majoritywhich has maintained them in power.not to mention the death of the best friend of his youth. on the other hand. there is no need to go as of one of his far as Chirico did fifteen years ago.which gives her the right to be jealous. They have been awarded no vote of confidencein theirability either to avoid a new cataclysm or to maintain the mechanismof republican institutions. Seurat.Studies Yale French aire of the "conversation poems. I think of nearly all the governments which have followed upon one another. even if it be thoughtthe party of liberty(loss of the feeling of uniqueness). It was equally erroneous for others to believe that they would always be so much themselvesthat they withno matter whom (loss of the feelingof dependence): could be compromised libertyis at once madly desirable and quite fragile. that monsterto whom the author that is to say. always) outside the strictframework in which a "party"wishes to contain you. more recently. made up of personalities which are indifferently interchangeable.
to inflictupon you a didactic speech. "The true life is absent.it results that the thesesof surrealismpresentin relation to that same war a "this side" and a "beyond.that theyhave been capable of saying approximatelywhen the inevitable abyss would open up? I need only one convincingproof: this sentence frommy "lettresaux Voyantes" of 1925 which can be found in the 1929 re-editionof the "Manifesto of Surrealism": "There are people who pretend that the war has taughtthemsomething. gentlemen. I nonetheless believe that all the activity spent in the name of surrealismcannot have been in vain. It will be the moment not to let pass before conquering that life. or better. it is clear that I have too long been a "party" to be able to make myself a judge today. conformist and which entails a certain frenzy. I know that you have receivedmany precise details and clarifications from the extremelyauthoritativeremarksof Mr. Henri Peyre.intended to shake offdesperatelythe general inertia.In the trialwhich surrealism has instituted. It cannot assuredlybe the expressionof the returnto an age of clemencyand of free meditation on the needs of human life. that the good thingswhich it holds out to him are of a quite ephemeral nature.Upon emerging -from the present tunnel. in the presentcircumstances and especiallyat a time when you are approaching such an importantturningpoint in your life. and in any event. For this reason it would have seemed pedantic to me. who has given me the honor and the grave joy of invitingme to speak to you at such a time. the coming of the war is strictly foretoldin that sentence.you will grantme the point because therehas never been an example of the contrary case on such a scale with such persistenceand so great a circulation of men in both directions." If. Man senses that the societywhich he has built is preparing not far away a freshtrap for him. fourteenyears in advance.ANDRE BRETON pit.theyare all the same less well offthan I who know what the year 1939 is reservingfor me." The "this side" is in the affirmation of a will which is nonin all regards. we might as well make up our minds to it. that the very ethics which it imposes upon him are fallacious inasmuch as that societyknows it must give way to a quite different scale of values as soon as this ceaseless perfectioning and piling-up of deathmachinesso demands." Rimbaud had already said. One can hope that the disastrous experience of the other apr~s-gutrrewill have given counsel and that men will not be content to return to the poverty-stricken conceptions which prevailed at that time.rather than me to decide. That which in the thesesof surrealismcan go beyond this war is for you. In all domains I believe that it will be necessaryto bring to that attempt all the audacity of 75 . we shall have to attempt to replace man in his element.
which are fatal to us the most important 3." which believes it can brand dreams with inanition. The so-called conscious justifications dismissthese motiveseasily only cover over the dirt with polish. moreover. the real and the imaginary. it translates as contradictory. hands new keys." an aspirationso profoundthat it is doubtless fromit essentiallythat surrealism will be considered as having taken its substance.which have been presentedas insurmountable. One must grant to Freud that the exploration of the unconscious life basis for appreciationof the motiveswhich make the only worthwhile furnishes which pretend to the human being act. leads us to believe that there exists a certain point of the mind Everything past and future. Startingfrom surrealism has continuouslyemphasized "automatism. I wish to group its propositions for memory themselves to us graduallybut unwaveringly: such as theyhave formulated i.would be the salvation of man."not only these premises. the surrealistpropositions. if only by givinghim a derisory ing him to escape in a worthwhileway from the universal constraint." which refuses suffering: to take into account the irrational. and artisticlevel. and today more than ever: "It is necessaryto feel by all means and to make known at all costs the artificialcharacterof the old intended to forestallany unprecedentedagitation on antinomieshypocritically idea of his means or by defythe part of man. theyare the true alembics of Deplorably intrenched the opposition of madness and of pretended "reason. communicable and the incommunicable. the opposition of dream and of "action. which lifts the malediction of an uncrossable barrier between the externaland the internalworld and which.high and low. For surrealism-and I think will have been consideredgood that that one day thiswill be its glory-anything could reduce these oppositions.both of them produced from the representation dissociationof a single primordialfacultyof which the primitiveand the child bear the trace. cease to be perceived This is not only a view inheritedfromoccultists.as a as a method of expressionon the literary firststep toward a general revision of the modes of knowledge.Studies Yale French which man is capable.It will never be emphasized enough that in the presence of the desperate situation of surrealismtried to put into his man in the middle of the twentiethcentury.refound. Among those contradictions most extensivelymyself to resolve-and it is the one in which I have interested 76 . but. In conclusion. during the course of ages.whetherdirectlyor at an angle. if this time is the real one-failing which it will mean only a postponement-I doubt if one can avoid reconsidering seriously. If that can be.the fromwhich life and death. 2. As I said in 1930. opposition of the mental and the physical perception.
Here theyare: "We who have reached the age of twenty yearsduring this war.in opposition to the word ego in the psychoanalytic vocabulary. In attemptingto co-ordinate the diverse preceding points. that it has trulyput its foot into the arena and charted 77 . I have said that it could be the manifestation-form of external necessity as it makes a way in the human unconscious. which I shall allow myselfto quote to you. 5. to take into account the implacable realities. From the momentof returnto what one calls normal existencewe should to disinfect and then undertakeresolutely that immense sweep with searchlights and sombre region of the id where mythsswell beyond measure and where at the same time wars are fomented.ANDRE BRETON is the one which sets at odds nature and man within man's conception of nature's necessity and of his own. in which the strength of calculations appears to be continuouslylimited by that unknown. serves.We came to ask of our philosophers. the age at which one systematizes one's life. There remain one or two sentencesof mine.But. how can we approach this region? I say that only surrealismhas occupied itselfwith the concrete resolution of this problem.It is moreover apt to be brought to the frontrank of preoccupationsby war. that is. inasmuch as they are applicable equally to my situationat the time and to yoursnow. Although I cannot pretend to have resolved it. This dispositionshould consequentlydissuade the mind-and sometimessurrealismhas challenged this-from tryingto take everything seriously. The human mind is so made that it enjoys such paradoxical relaxation at the moments when the springs of life are stretchedto the breaking point. 4. surrealism found itselfcarriedquite naturallyto the veryedge of the id."I say that these remarkshave become fully applicable again. were forced. to designate the ensembleof very active powers escaped fromconsciousness by virtue of various reprovingjudgments. these two necessitiespresentingthemselves as being in grave disaccord. dating fromthe last war. you will ask. the oscillationof a certainchance. as you know.we were led to attach little importanceto all things." Chance remains the great veil to be lifted. a word which.In order not to feel too badly about this. At the time of their utterance they were to introduce an appreciation both of Alfred Jarryand of a sort of dramatic humor which is based on a successionof inspiredsallies in reaction to that which is most tragic in the situationbroughtupon man. the same sacrifice.while doing this.Freud has seen in the id "the arena of the strugglewhich brings to grips Eros and the death instinct. of our poets."Such a conceptioncan not fail to take on full reliefin the light of the eventsof the day. I have at least shown that it does not totallyresistthe attentiveobservationof coincidences and other phenomena said to be "chance.
in itselfand marvelous because it holds the secret like the thing insignificant of the infinite repetitionof the same field. I know that at the approach of twenty years of age they are quite ready to yield the field to a woman's look which gathersin itselfall the attractionof the world. that is to say.of Meister Eckhardt. seduction which they carry.and for no reason would I wish to burden the travelers with anythingwhich mighthinder them. Everything in which I believed and still believe on another level would lose a great part of its importancefor me if I were not confidentthat.but which appeared to it to be a prime necessity. "Monsieur Aa l'antiphilosophe" by Tristan Tzara.It is in this spirit that I have chosen to bring before your eyes. while refrainingfromweightingthem with some images whose meaning matters only in relation to the commentary. mental watchwords Gentlemen.a will to the permanent incorporationin the psychic apparatus of black humor which.In view of an undertakingwhich singularlyexceeded its numerical forces. A persistentfaith in aiutonmatic expression as a sounding device. temperature. it has been alone in placing here and thereseveral danger-buoys. recognition of objective chance as an indicationof the possible reconciliationbetween the ends of nature and the ends of men in the eyes of the latter." 78 .C.so much that I have deemed it preferableto let the latterwork upon you alone.Yale French Studies landmarks.G. to leave you less with the echo of the preceding considerations than with that of the few poems which I am going to read to you now. while inspired by the cluster of ideas that I have just retracedfor you. at a certain can alone play the role of a safety-valve. preparation in a pracin the mythicallife which would at first tical way for an intervention take on the aspect of large-scalecleansing-in such contextsare to be found the fundaof surrealismtoday."L'Union Libre.* (Translated by R. And that is also why I should prefer. while expressingthe anguish of its time.in spite of everything.) * "La Jolie Rousse" by Guillaume Apollinaire. All the more reason.of Hegel) for the resolution of the antinomies which overwhelm man.surrealism has yet succeeded in givinga new face to beauty.may it bear the pride of weighing as little as that stalk on the scales of the windl Whatevermay be the ambition to know and the temptationto act. "Le Sang RWpandu"by Benjamin PNret. "En l'Honneur des Muets" by Paul Eluard. then to wish: if surrealism aspires to survive on the devastated field like a stalk. a persistenthope in the dialectic (that of Heraclitus.I reflectagain that some of you are ready to depart on that incrediblyrapid train whose windows are streakedwith the inscription"1942Future" and which consentsto stop a moment before the platformon which we are standing.
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