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MANIFESTO OF SURREALISM BY ANDR BRETON (1924)

So strong is the belief in life, in what is most fragile in life real life, I mean that in the end this belief is lost. Man, that inveterate dreamer, daily more discontent with his destiny, has trouble assessing the objects he has been led to use, objects that his nonchalance has brought his way, or that he has earned through his own efforts, almost always through his own efforts, for he has agreed to work, at least he has not refused to try his luck (or what he calls his luck! . !t this "oint he feels e#tremely modest$ he knows what women he has had, what silly affairs he has been involved in% he is unim"ressed by his wealth or his "overty, in this res"ect he is still a newborn babe and, as for the a""roval of his conscience, I confess that he does very nicely without it. If he still retains a certain lucidity, all he can do is turn back toward his childhood which, however his guides and mentors may have botched it, still strikes him as somehow charming. &here, the absence of any known restrictions allows him the "ers"ective of several lives lived at once% this illusion becomes firmly rooted within him% now he is only interested in the fleeting, the e#treme facility of

everything. 'hildren set off each day without a worry in the world. (verything is near at hand, the worst material conditions are fine. &he woods are white or black, one will never slee". )ut it is true that we would not dare venture so far, it is not merely a *uestion of distance. &hreat is "iled u"on threat, one yields, abandons a "ortion of the terrain to be con*uered. &his imagination which knows no bounds is henceforth allowed to be e#ercised only in strict accordance with the laws of an arbitrary utility% it is inca"able of assuming this inferior role for very long and, in the vicinity of the twentieth year, generally "refers to abandon man to his lusterless fate. &hough he may later try to "ull himself together on occasion, having felt that he is losing by slow degrees all reason for living, inca"able as he has become of being able to rise to some e#ce"tional situation such as love, he will hardly succeed. &his is because he henceforth belongs body and soul to an im"erative "ractical necessity which demands his constant attention. +one of his gestures will be e#"ansive, none of his ideas generous or far,reaching. In his mind-s eye, events real or imagined will be seen only as they relate to a welter of similar events, events in which he has not "artici"ated, abortive events. .hat am I saying$ he will judge them in relationshi" to one of these events whose conse*uences are more reassuring than the others. /n no account will he view them as his salvation. )eloved imagination, what I most like in you is your uns"aring *uality. &here remains madness, 0the madness that one locks u",0 as it has a"tly been described. &hat madness or another1. .e all know, in fact, that the insane owe their incarceration to a tiny number of legally re"rehensible acts and that, were it not for these acts their freedom (or what we see as their freedom would not be threatened. I am willing to admit that they are, to some degree, victims of their imagination, in that it induces them not to "ay attention to certain rules outside of which the s"ecies feels threatened which we are all su""osed to know and res"ect. )ut their "rofound indifference to the way in

which we judge them, and even to the various "unishments meted out to them, allows us to su""ose that they derive a great deal of comfort and consolation from their imagination, that they enjoy their madness sufficiently to endure the thought that its validity does not e#tend beyond themselves. !nd, indeed, hallucinations, illusions, etc., are not a source of trifling "leasure. &he best controlled sensuality "artakes of it, and I know that there are many evenings when I would gladly that "retty hand which, during the last "ages of &aine-s LIntelligence, indulges in some curious misdeeds. I could s"end my whole life "rying loose the secrets of the insane. &hese "eo"le are honest to a fault, and their naivet2 has no "eer but my own. 'hristo"her 'olumbus should have set out to discover !merica with a boatload of madmen. !nd note how this madness has taken sha"e, and endured.

It is not the fear of madness which will oblige us to leave the flag of imagination furled. &he case against the realistic attitude demands to be e#amined, following the case against the materialistic attitude. &he latter, more "oetic in fact than the former, admittedly im"lies on the "art of man a kind of monstrous "ride which, admittedly, is monstrous, but not a new and more com"lete decay. It should above all be viewed as a welcome reaction against certain ridiculous tendencies of s"iritualism. 3inally, it is not incom"atible with a certain nobility of thought. )y contrast, the realistic attitude, ins"ired by "ositivism, from Saint &homas !*uinas to !natole 3rance, clearly seems to me to be hostile to any intellectual or moral advancement. I loathe it, for it is made u" of mediocrity, hate, and dull conceit. It is this attitude which today gives birth to these ridiculous books, these insulting "lays. It constantly feeds on and derives strength from the news"a"ers and stultifies both science and art by assiduously flattering the lowest of tastes% clarity bordering on stu"idity, a dog-s life. &he activity of the best minds feels the effects of it% the law of the lowest common denominator finally "revails u"on them as it does u"on the

others. !n amusing result of this state of affairs, in literature for e#am"le, is the generous su""ly of novels. (ach "erson adds his "ersonal little 0observation0 to the whole. !s a cleansing antidote to all this, M. 4aul 5al2ry recently suggested that an anthology be com"iled in which the largest "ossible number of o"ening "assages from novels be offered% the resulting insanity, he "redicted, would be a source of considerable edification. &he most famous authors would be included. Such a though reflects great credit on 4aul 5al2ry who, some time ago, s"eaking of novels, assured me that, so far as he was concerned, he would continue to refrain from writing$ 0&he Mar*uise went out at five.0 )ut has he ke"t his word6 If the "urely informative style, of which the sentence just *uoted is a "rime e#am"le, is virtually the rule rather than the e#ce"tion in the novel form, it is because, in all fairness, the author-s ambition is severely circumscribed. &he circumstantial, needlessly s"ecific nature of each of their notations leads me to believe that they are "er"etrating a joke at my e#"ense. I am s"ared not even one of the character-s slightest vacillations$ will he be fairhaired6 what will his name be6 will we first meet him during the summer6 So many *uestions resolved once and for all, as chance directs% the only discretionary "ower left me is to close the book, which I am careful to do somewhere in the vicinity of the first "age. !nd the descri"tions! &here is nothing to which their vacuity can be com"ared% they are nothing but so many su"erim"osed images taken from some stock catalogue, which the author utili7es more and more whenever he chooses% he sei7es the o""ortunity to sli" me his "ostcards, he tries to make me agree with him about the clich2s$ The small room into which the o!ng man was shown was covere" with ellow wall#a#er$ there were gerani!ms in the win"ows, which were covere" with m!slin c!rtains% the setting s!n cast a harsh light over the entire setting&' There was nothing s#ecial abo!t the room' The (!rnit!re, o( ellow woo", was all ver ol"' A so(a with a tall bac) t!rne" "own, an oval table o##osite the so(a, a "ressing table an" a mirror set against the #ierglass, some chairs along the walls, two or three

etchings o( no val!e #ortra ing some *erman girls with bir"s in their han"s + s!ch were the (!rnishings' (8ostoevski, ,rime an" -!nishment

I am in no mood to admit that the mind is interested in occu"ying itself with such matters, even fleetingly. It may be argued that this school,boy descri"tion has its "lace, and that at this juncture of the book the author has his reasons for burdening me. +evertheless he is wasting his time, for I refuse to go into his room. /thers- la7iness or fatigue does not interest me. I have too unstable a notion of the continuity of life to e*uate or com"are my moments of de"ression or weakness with my best moments. .hen one ceases to feel, I am of the o"inion one should kee" *uiet. !nd I would like it understood that I am not accusing or condemning lack of originality as s!ch' I am only saying that I do not take "articular note of the em"ty moments of my life, that it may be unworthy for any man to crystalli7e those which seem to him to be so. I shall, with your "ermission, ignore the descri"tion of that room, and many more like it. +ot so fast, there% I-m getting into the area of "sychology, a subject about which I shall be careful not to joke. &he author attacks a character and, this being settled u"on, "arades his hero to and fro across the world. +o matter what ha""ens, this hero, whose actions and reactions are admirably "redictable, is com"elled not to thwart or u"set ,, even though he looks as though he is ,, the calculations of which he is the object. &he currents of life can a""ear to lift him u", roll him over, cast him down, he will still belong to this rea" ma"e human ty"e. ! sim"le game of chess which doesn9t interest me in the least ,, man, whoever he may be, being for me a mediocre o""onent. .hat I cannot bear are those wretched discussions relative to such and such a move, since winning or losing is not in *uestion. !nd if the game is not worth the candle, if objective reason does a frightful job ,, as indeed it does ,, of serving him who calls u"on it, is it not fitting and "ro"er to avoid all contact with these categories6

08iversity is so vast that every different tone of voice, every ste", cough, every wi"e of the nose, every snee7e....0: (4ascal. If in a cluster of gra"es there are no two alike, why do you want me to describe this gra"e by the other, by all the others, why do you want me to make a "alatable gra"e6 /ur brains are dulled by the incurable mania of wanting to make the unknown known, classifiable. &he desire for analysis wins out over the sentiments.:: ()arr;s, -ro!st' &he result is statements of undue length whose "ersuasive "ower is attributable solely to their strangeness and which im"ress the reader only by the abstract *uality of their vocabulary, which moreover is ill,defined. If the general ideas that "hiloso"hy has thus far come u" with as to"ics of discussion revealed by their very nature their definitive incursion into a broader or more general area. I would be the first to greet the news with joy. )ut u" till now it has been nothing but idle re"artee% the flashes of wit and other niceties vie in concealing from us the true thought in search of itself, instead of concentrating on obtaining successes. It seems to me that every act is its own justification, at least for the "erson who has been ca"able of committing it, that it is endowed with a radiant "ower which the slightest gloss is certain to diminish. )ecause of this gloss, it even in a sense ceases to ha""en. It gains nothing to be thus distinguished. Stendhal9s heroes are subject to the comments and a""raisals ,, a""raisals which are more or less successful ,, made by that author, which add not one whit to their glory. .here we really find them again is at the "oint at which Stendahl has lost them.

.e are still living under the reign of logic$ this, of course, is what I have been driving at. )ut in this day and age logical methods are a""licable only to solving "roblems of secondary interest. &he absolute rationalism that is still in vogue allows us to consider only facts relating directly to our e#"erience. <ogical ends, on the contrary, esca"e us. It is "ointless to add that e#"erience itself has found itself increasingly circumscribed. It "aces back and forth in a cage from which it is more and more difficult to make it emerge. It too leans for su""ort on what is most immediately e#"edient, and it is

"rotected by the sentinels of common sense. =nder the "retense of civili7ation and "rogress, we have managed to banish from the mind everything that may rightly or wrongly be termed su"erstition, or fancy% forbidden is any kind of search for truth which is not in conformance with acce"ted "ractices. It was, a""arently, by "ure chance that a "art of our mental world which we "retended not to be concerned with any longer ,, and, in my o"inion by far the most im"ortant "art ,, has been brought back to light. 3or this we must give thanks to the discoveries of Sigmund 3reud. /n the basis of these discoveries a current of o"inion is finally forming by means of which the human e#"lorer will be able to carry his investigation much further, authori7ed as he will henceforth be not to confine himself solely to the most summary realities. &he imagination is "erha"s on the "oint of reasserting itself, of reclaiming its rights. If the de"ths of our mind contain within it strange forces ca"able of augmenting those on the surface, or of waging a victorious battle against them, there is every reason to sei7e them ,, first to sei7e them, then, if need be, to submit them to the control of our reason. &he analysts themselves have everything to gain by it. )ut it is worth noting that no means has been designated a "riori for carrying out this undertaking, that until further notice it can be construed to be the "rovince of "oets as well as scholars, and that its success is not de"endent u"on the more or less ca"ricious "aths that will be followed.

3reud very rightly brought his critical faculties to bear u"on the dream. It is, in fact, inadmissible that this considerable "ortion of "sychic activity (since, at least from man9s birth until his death, thought offers no solution of continuity, the sum of the moments of the dream, from the "oint of view of time, and taking into consideration only the time of "ure dreaming, that is the dreams of slee", is not inferior to the sum of the moments of reality, or, to be more "recisely limiting, the moments of waking has still today been so grossly neglected. I have always been ama7ed at the way an ordinary observer lends so much more credence and attaches so much more im"ortance to waking events than to those occurring in

dreams. It is because man, when he ceases to slee", is above all the "laything of his memory, and in its normal state memory takes "leasure in weakly retracing for him the circumstances of the dream, in stri""ing it of any real im"ortance, and in dismissing the only "eterminant from the "oint where he thinks he has left it a few hours before$ this firm ho"e, this concern. >e is under the im"ression of continuing something that is worthwhile. &hus the dream finds itself reduced to a mere "arenthesis, as is the night. !nd, like the night, dreams generally contribute little to furthering our understanding. &his curious state of affairs seems to me to call for certain reflections$ ? .ithin the limits where they o"erate (or are thought to o"erate dreams give every evidence of being continuous and show signs of organi7ation. Memory alone arrogates to itself the right to e#cer"t from dreams, to ignore the transitions, and to de"ict for us rather a series of dreams than the "ream itsel(' )y the same token, at any given moment we have only a distinct notion of realities, the coordination of which is a *uestion of will.: (!ccount must be taken of the "e#th of the dream. 3or the most "art I retain only what I can glean from its most su"erficial layers. .hat I most enjoy contem"lating about a dream is everything that sinks back below the surface in a waking state, everything I have forgotten about my activities in the course of the "receding day, dark foliage, stu"id branches. In 0reality,0 likewise, I "refer to (all' .hat is worth noting is that nothing allows us to "resu""ose a greater dissi"ation of the elements of which the dream is constituted. I am sorry to have to s"eak about it according to a formula which in "rinci"le e#cludes the dream. .hen will we have slee"ing logicians, slee"ing "hiloso"hers6 I would like to slee", in order to surrender myself to the dreamers, the way I surrender myself to those who read me with eyes wide o"en% in order to sto" im"osing, in this realm, the conscious rhythm of my thought. 4erha"s my dream last night follows that of the night before, and will be continued the ne#t night, with an e#em"lary strictness. It.s /!ite #ossible, as the saying goes. !nd since it has not been "roved in the slightest that, in doing so, the 0reality0 with which I am ke"t busy continues to e#ist in the state of dream, that it does not sink back down into the

immemorial, why should I not grant to dreams what I occasionally refuse reality, that is, this value of certainty in itself which, in its own time, is not o"en to my re"udiation6 .hy should I not e#"ect from the sign of the dream more than I e#"ect from a degree of consciousness which is daily more acute6 'an9t the dream also be used in solving the fundamental *uestions of life6 !re these *uestions the same in one case as in the other and, in the dream, do these *uestions already e#ist6 Is the dream any less restrictive or "unitive than the rest6 I am growing old and, more than that reality to which I believe I subject myself, it is "erha"s the dream, the difference with which I treat the dream, which makes me grow old. @ <et me come back again to the waking state. I have no choice but to consider it a "henomenon of interference. +ot only does the mind dis"lay, in this state, a strange tendency to lose its bearings (as evidenced by the sli"s and mistakes the secrets of which are just beginning to be revealed to us , but, what is more, it does not a""ear that, when the mind is functioning normally, it really res"onds to anything but the suggestions which come to it from the de"ths of that dark night to which I commend it. >owever conditioned it may be, its balance is relative. It scarcely dares e#"ress itself and, if it does, it confines itself to verifying that such and such an idea, or such and such a woman, has made an im"ression on it. .hat im"ression it would be hard "ressed to say, by which it reveals the degree of its subjectivity, and nothing more. &his idea, this woman, disturb it, they tend to make it less severe. .hat they do is isolate the mind for a second from its solvent and s"irit it to heaven, as the beautiful "reci"itate it can be, that it is. .hen all else fails, it then calls u"on chance, a divinity even more obscure than the others to whom it ascribes all its aberrations. .ho can say to me that the angle by which that idea which affects it is offered, that what it likes in the eye of that woman is not "recisely what links it to its dream, binds it to those fundamental facts which, through its own fault, it has lost6 !nd if things were different, what might it be ca"able of6 I would like to "rovide it with the key to this corridor.

A &he mind of the man who dreams is fully satisfied by what ha""ens to him. &he agoni7ing *uestion of "ossibility is no longer "ertinent. Bill, fly faster, love to your heart9s content. !nd if you should die, are you not certain of reawaking among the dead6 <et yourself be carried along, events will not tolerate your interference. Cou are nameless. &he ease of everything is "riceless. .hat reason, I ask, a reason so much vaster than the other, makes dreams seem so natural and allows me to welcome unreservedly a welter of e"isodes so strange that they could confound me now as I write6 !nd yet I can believe my eyes, my ears% this great day has arrived, this beast has s"oken. If man9s awaking is harder, if it breaks the s"ell too abru"tly, it is because he has been led to make for himself too im"overished a notion of atonement. D 3rom the moment when it is subjected to a methodical e#amination, when, by means yet to be determined, we succeed in recording the contents of dreams in their entirety (and that "resu""oses a disci"line of memory s"anning generations% but let us nonetheless begin by noting the most salient facts , when its gra"h will e#"and with un"aralleled volume and regularity, we may ho"e that the mysteries which really are not will give way to the great Mystery. I believe in the future resolution of these two states, dream and reality, which are seemingly so contradictory, into a kind of absolute reality, a s!rrealit , if one may so s"eak. It is in *uest of this surreality that I am going, certain not to find it but too unmindful of my death not to calculate to some slight degree the joys of its "ossession. ! story is told according to which Saint,4ol,Eou#, in times gone by, used to have a notice "osted on the door of his manor house in 'amaret, every evening before he went to slee", which read$ &>( 4/(& IS ./EBI+F. ! great deal more could be said, but in "assing I merely wanted to touch u"on a subject which in itself would re*uire a very long and much more detailed discussion% I shall come

back to it. !t this juncture, my intention was merely to mark a "oint by noting the hate o( the marvelo!s which rages in certain men, this absurdity beneath which they try to bury it. <et us not mince words$ the marvelous is always beautiful, anything marvelous is beautiful, in fact only the marvelous is beautiful.

In the realm of literature, only the marvelous is ca"able of fecundating works which belong to an inferior category such as the novel, and generally s"eaking, anything that involves storytelling. <ewis9 The Mon) is an admirable "roof of this. It is infused throughout with the "resence of the marvelous. <ong before the author has freed his main characters from all tem"oral constraints, one feels them ready to act with an un"recedented "ride. &his "assion for eternity with which they are constantly stirred lends an unforgettable intensity to their torments, and to mine. I mean that this book, from beginning to end, and in the "urest way imaginable, e#ercises an e#alting effect only u"on that "art of the mind which as"ires to leave the earth and that, stri""ed of an insignificant "art of its "lot, which belongs to the "eriod in which it was written, it constitutes a "aragon of "recision and innocent grandeur.: (.hat is admirable about the fantastic is that there is no longer anything fantastic$ there is only the real. It seems to me none better has been done, and that the character of Mathilda in "articular is the most moving creation that one can credit to this (ig!rative fashion in literature. She is less a character than a continual tem"tation. !nd if a character is not a tem"tation, what is he6 !n e#treme tem"tation, she. In The Mon) the 0nothing is im"ossible for him who dares try0 gives it its full, convincing measure. Fhosts "lay a logical role in the book, since the critical mind does not sei7e them in order to dis"ute them. !mbrosio9s "unishment is likewise treated in a legitimate manner, since it is finally acce"ted by the critical faculty as a natural denouement.

It may seem arbitrary on my "art, when discussing the marvelous, to choose this model, from which both the +ordic literatures and /riental literatures have borrowed time and time again, not to mention the religious literatures of every country. &his is because most of the e#am"les which these literatures could have furnished me with are tainted by "uerility, for the sim"le reason that they are addressed to children. !t an early age children are weaned on the marvelous, and later on they fail to retain a sufficient virginity of mind to thoroughly enjoy fairy tales. +o matter how charming they may be, a grown man would think he were reverting to childhood by nourishing himself on fairy tales, and I am the first to admit that all such tales are not suitable for him. &he fabric of adorable im"robabilities must be made a trifle more subtle the older we grow, and we are still at the age of waiting for this kind of s"ider.... )ut the faculties do not change radically. 3ear, the attraction of the unusual, chance, the taste for things e#travagant are all devices which we can always call u"on without fear of dece"tion. &here are fairy tales to be written for adults, fairy tales still almost blue. &he marvelous is not the same in every "eriod of history$ it "artakes in some obscure way of a sort of general revelation only the fragments of which come down to us$ they are the romantic r!ins, the modern manne/!in, or any other symbol ca"able of affecting the human sensibility for a "eriod of time. In these areas which make us smile, there is still "ortrayed the incurable human restlessness, and this is why I take them into consideration and why I judge them inse"arable from certain "roductions of genius which are, more than the others, "ainfully afflicted by them. &hey are 5illon9s gibbets, Eacine9s Freeks, )audelaire9s couches. &hey coincide with an ecli"se of the taste I am made to endure, I whose notion of taste is the image of a big s"ot. !mid the bad taste of my time I strive to go further than anyone else. It would have been I, had I lived in ?G@H, I 0the bleeding nun,0 I who would not have s"ared this cunning and banal 0let us conceal0 whereof the "arodical 'uisin s"eaks, it would have been I, I who would have reveled in the enormous meta"hors, as he says, all "hases of the 0silver disk.0 3or today I think of a castle, half of which is not necessarily in ruins% this castle belongs to me, I "icture it in a

rustic setting, not far from 4aris. &he outbuildings are too numerous to mention, and, as for the interior, it has been frightfully restored, in such manner as to leave nothing to be desired from the view"oint of comfort. !utomobiles are "arked before the door, concealed by the shade of trees. ! few of my friends are living here as "ermanent guests$ there is <ouis !ragon leaving% he only has time enough to say hello% 4hili""e Sou"ault gets u" with the stars, and 4aul (luard, our great (luard, has not yet come home. &here are Eobert 8esnos and Eoger 5itrac out on the grounds "oring over an ancient edict on duelling% Feorges !uric, Iean 4aulhan% Ma# Morise, who rows so well, and )enjamin 42ret, busy with his e*uations with birds% and Iose"h 8elteil% and Iean 'arrive% and Feorges <imbour, and Feorges <imbours (there is a whole hedge of Feorges <imbours % and Marcel +oll% there is &. 3raenkel waving to us from his ca"tive balloon, Feorges Malkine, !ntonin !rtaud, 3rancis F2rard, 4ierre +aville, I.,!. )oiffard, and after them Iac*ues )aron and his brother, handsome and cordial, and so many others besides, and gorgeous women, I might add. +othing is too good for these young men, their wishes are, as to wealth, so many commands. 3rancis 4icabia comes to "ay us a call, and last week, in the hall of mirrors, we received a certain Marcel 8ucham" whom we had not hitherto known. 4icasso goes hunting in the neighborhood. &he s"irit of "emorali0ation has elected domicile in the castle, and it is with it we have to deal every time it is a *uestion of contact with our fellowmen, but the doors are always o"en, and one does not begin by 0thanking0 everyone, you know. Moreover, the solitude is vast, we don9t often run into one another. !nd anyway, isn9t what matters that we be the masters of ourselves, the masters of women, and of love too6 I shall be "roved guilty of "oetic dishonesty$ everyone will go "arading about saying that I live on the rue 3ontaine and that he will have none of the water that flows therefrom. &o be sure! )ut is he certain that this castle into which I cordially invite him is an image6 .hat if this castle really e#isted! My guests are there to "rove it does% their whim is the luminous road that leads to it. .e really live by our fantasies when we give (ree reign to them' !nd how could what one might do

bother the other, there, safely sheltered from the sentimental "ursuit and at the trysting "lace of o""ortunities6

Man "ro"oses and dis"oses. >e and he alone can determine whether he is com"letely master of himself, that is, whether he maintains the body of his desires, daily more formidable, in a state of anarchy. 4oetry teaches him to. It bears within itself the "erfect com"ensation for the miseries we endure. It can also be an organi7er, if ever, as the result of a less intimate disa""ointment, we contem"late taking it seriously. &he time is coming when it decrees the end of money and by itself will break the bread of heaven for the earth! &here will still be gatherings on the "ublic s*uares, and movements you never dared ho"e "artici"ate in. 3arewell to absurd choices, the dreams of dark abyss, rivalries, the "rolonged "atience, the flight of the seasons, the artificial order of ideas, the ram" of danger, time for everything! May you only take the trouble to #ractice "oetry. Is it not incumbent u"on us, who are already living off it, to try and im"ose what we hold to be our case for further in*uiry6 It matters not whether there is a certain dis"ro"ortion between this defense and the illustration that will follow it. It was a *uestion of going back to the sources of "oetic imagination and, what is more, of remaining there. +ot that I "retend to have done so. It re*uires a great deal of fortitude to try to set u" one9s abode in these distant regions where everything seems at first to be so awkward and difficult, all the more so if one wants to try to take someone there. )esides, one is never sure of really being there. If one is going to all that trouble, one might as well sto" off somewhere else. )e that as it may, the fact is that the way to these regions is clearly marked, and that to attain the true goal is now merely a matter of the travelers9 ability to endure.

.e are all more or less aware of the road traveled. I was careful to relate, in the course of a study of the case of Eobert 8esnos entitled (+&EJ( 8(S MJ8I=MS,: (See Les -as #er"!s, "ublished by +.E.3. that I had been led to0 concentrate my attention on the more or less "artial sentences which, when one is *uite alone and on the verge of falling aslee", become "erce"tible for the mind without its being "ossible to discover what "rovoked them.0 I had then just attem"ted the "oetic adventure with the minimum of risks, that is, my as"irations were the same as they are today but I trusted in the slowness of formulation to kee" me from useless contacts, contacts of which I com"letely disa""roved. &his attitude involved a modesty of thought certain vestiges of which I still retain. !t the end of my life, I shall doubtless manage to s"eak with great effort the way "eo"le s"eak, to a"ologi7e for my voice and my few remaining gestures. &he virtue of the s"oken word (and the written word all the more so seemed to me to derive from the faculty of foreshortening in a striking manner the e#"osition (since there was e#"osition of a small number of facts, "oetic or other, of which I made myself the substance. I had come to the conclusion that Eimbaud had not "roceeded any differently. I was com"osing, with a concern for variety that deserved better, the final "oems of Mont "e #i1t1, that is, I managed to e#tract from the blank lines of this book an incredible advantage. &hese lines were the closed eye to the o"erations of thought that I believed I was obliged to kee" hidden from the reader. It was not deceit on my "art, but my love of shocking the reader. I had the illusion of a "ossible com"licity, which I had more and more difficulty giving u". I had begun to cherish words e#cessively for the s"ace they allow around them, for their tangencies with countless other words which I did not utter. &he "oem )<!'B 3/E(S& derives "recisely from this state of mind. It took me si# months to write it, and you may take my word for it that I did not rest a single day. )ut this stemmed from the o"inion I had of myself in those days, which was high, "lease don9t judge me too harshly. I enjoy these stu"id confessions. !t that "oint cubist "seudo,"oetry was trying to get a foothold, but it had emerged defenseless from 4icasso9s brain, and I was thought

to be as dull as dishwater (and still am . I had a sneaking sus"icion, moreover, that from the view"oint of "oetry I was off on the wrong road, but I hedged my bet as best I could, defying lyricism with salvos of definitions and formulas (the 8ada "henomena were waiting in the wings, ready to come on stage and "retending to search for an a""lication of "oetry to advertising (I went so far as to claim that the world would end, not with a good book but with a beautiful advertisement for heaven or for hell . In those days, a man at least as boring as I, 4ierre Eeverdy, was writing$ The image is a #!re creation o( the min"' It cannot be born (rom a com#arison b!t (rom a 2!3ta#osition o( two more or less "istant realities' The more the relationshi# between the two 2!3ta#ose" realities is "istant an" tr!e, the stronger the image will be 44 the greater its emotional #ower an" #oetic realit '''5 (Nor"4 S!", March ?K?G &hese words, however sibylline for the uninitiated, were e#tremely revealing, and I "ondered them for a long time. )ut the image eluded me. Eeverdy9s aesthetic, a com"letely a "osteriori aesthetic, led me to mistake the effects for the causes. It was in the midst of all this that I renounced irrevocably my "oint of view.

/ne evening, therefore, before I fell aslee", I "erceived, so clearly articulated that it was im"ossible to change a word, but nonetheless removed from the sound of any voice, a rather strange "hrase which came to me without any a""arent relationshi" to the events in which, my consciousness agrees, I was then involved, a "hrase which seemed to me insistent, a "hrase, if I may be so bold, which was )noc)ing at the win"ow' I took cursory note of it and "re"ared to move on

when its organic character caught my attention. !ctually, this "hrase astonished me$ unfortunately I cannot remember it e#actly, but it was something like$ 0&here is a man cut in two by the window,0 but there could be no *uestion of ambiguity, accom"anied as it was by the faint visual image: (.ere I a "ainter, this visual de"iction would doubtless have become more im"ortant for me than the other. It was most certainly my "revious "redis"ositions which decided the matter. Since that day, I have had occasion to concentrate my attention voluntarily on similar a""aritions, and I know they are fully as clear as auditory "henomena. .ith a "encil and white sheet of "a"er to hand, I could easily trace their outlines. >ere again it is not a matter of drawing, butsim#l o( tracing' I could thus de"ict a tree, a wave, a musical instrument, all manner of things of which I am "resently inca"able of "roviding even the roughest sketch. I would "lunge into it, convinced that I would find my way again, in a ma7e of lines which at first glance would seem to be going nowhere. !nd, u"on o"ening my eyes, I would get the very strong im"ression of something 0never seen.0 &he "roof of what I am saying has been "rovided many times by Eobert 8esnos$ to be convinced, one has only to leaf through the "ages of issue number AL of Fe!illes libres which contains several of his drawings (Romeo an" 6!liet, A Man 7ie" This Morning, etc. which were taken by this maga7ine as the drawings of a madman and "ublished as such. of a man walking cut half way u" by a window "er"endicular to the a#is of his body. )eyond the slightest shadow of a doubt, what I saw was the sim"le reconstruction in s"ace of a man leaning out a window. )ut this window having shifted with the man, I reali7ed that I was dealing with an image of a fairly rare sort, and all I could think of was to incor"orate it into my material for "oetic construction. +o sooner had I granted it this ca"acity than it was in fact succeeded by a whole series of "hrases, with only brief "auses between them, which sur"rised me only slightly less and left me with the im"ression of their being so gratuitous that the control I had then e#ercised u"on myself seemed to me illusory and all I could think of was "utting an end to the interminable *uarrel raging within me.: (Bnut >amsum ascribes this sort of revelation to which I had been subjected as deriving fromh!nger, and he may not be wrong. (&he fact is I did not eat every day during that "eriod of my

life . Most certainly the manifestations that he describes in these terms are clearly the same$ 0&he following day I awoke at an early hour. It was still dark. My eyes had been o"en for a long time when I heard the clock in the a"artment above strike five. I wanted to go back to slee", but I couldn9t% I was wide awake and a thousand thoughts were crowding through my mind. 0Suddenly a few good fragments came to mind, *uite suitable to be used in a rough draft, or seriali7ed% all of a sudden I found, *uite by chance, beautiful "hrases, "hrases such as I had never written. I re"eated them to myself slowly, word by word% they were e#cellent. !nd there were still more coming. I got u" and "icked u" a "encil and some "a"er that were on a table behind my bed. It was as though some vein had burst within me, one word followed another, found its "ro"er "lace, ada"ted itself to the situation, scene "iled u"on scene, the action unfolded, one retort after another welled u" in my mind, I was enjoying myself immensely. &houghts came to me so ra"idly and continued to flow so abundantly that I lost a whole host of delicate details, because my "encil could not kee" u" with them, and yet I went as fast as I could, my hand in constant motion, I did not lose a minute. &he sentences continued to well u" within me, I was "regnant with my subject.0 !"ollinaire asserted that 'hirico9s first "aintings were done under the influence of cenesthesic disorders (migraines, colics, etc. .

'om"letely occu"ied as I still was with 3reud at that time, and familiar as I was with his methods of e#amination which I had some slight occasion to use on some "atients during the war, I resolved to obtain from myself what we were trying to obtain from them, namely, a monologue s"oken as ra"idly as "ossible without any intervention on the "art of the critical faculties, a monologue conse*uently unencumbered by the slightest inhibition and which was, as closely as "ossible, akin to s#o)en

tho!ght' It had seemed to me, and still does ,, the way in which the "hrase about the man cut in two had come to me is an indication of it ,, that the s"eed of thought is no greater than the s"eed of s"eech, and that thought does not necessarily defy language, nor even the fast,moving "en. It was in this frame of mind that 4hili""e Sou"ault ,, to whom I had confided these initial conclusions and I decided to blacken some "a"er, with a "raiseworthy disdain for what might result from a literary "oint of view. &he ease of e#ecution did the rest. )y the end of the first day we were able to read to ourselves some fifty or so "ages obtained in this manner, and begin to com"are our results. !ll in all, Sou"ault9s "ages and mine "roved to be remarkably similar$ the same overconstruction, shortcomings of a similar nature, but also, on both our "arts, the illusion of an e#traordinary verve, a great deal of emotion, a considerable choice of images of a *uality such that we would not have been ca"able of "re"aring a single one in longhand, a very s"ecial "ictures*ue *uality and, here and there, a strong comical effect. &he only difference between our two te#ts seemed to me to derive essentially from our res"ective tem"ers. Sou"ault9s being less static than mine, and, if he does not mind my offering this one slight criticism, from the fact that he had made the error of "utting a few words by way of titles at the to" of certain "ages, I su""ose in a s"irit of mystification. /n the other hand, I must give credit where credit is due and say that he constantly and vigorously o""osed any effort to retouch or correct, however slightly, any "assage of this kind which seemed to me unfortunate. In this he was, to be sure, absolutely right.: (I believe more and more in the infallibility of my thought with res"ect to myself, and this is too fair. +onetheless, with this tho!ght4writing, where one is at the mercy of the first outside distraction, 0ebullutions0 can occur. It would be ine#cusable for us to "retend otherwise. )y definition, thought is strong, and inca"able of catching itself in error. &he blame for these obvious weaknesses must be "laced on suggestions that come to it from without. It is, in fact, difficult to a""reciate fairly the various elements "resent$ one may even go so far as to say that it is im"ossible to a""reciate them at a first reading. &o you who write, these elements are, on the surface, as strange to o! as the are to an one else, and naturally you are wary of them. 4oetically s"eaking,

what strikes you about them above all is their e3treme "egree o( imme"iate abs!r"it , the *uality of this absurdity, u"on closer scrutiny, being to give way to everything admissible, everything legitimate in the world$ the disclosure of a certain number of "ro"erties and of facts no less objective, in the final analysis, than the others. In homage to Fuillaume !"ollinaire, who had just died and who, on several occasions, seemed to us to have followed a disci"line of this kind, without however having sacrificed to it any mediocre literary means, Sou"ault and I ba"ti7ed the new mode of "ure e#"ression which we had at our dis"osal and which we wished to "ass on to our friends, by the name of S=EE(!<ISM. I believe that there is no "oint today in dwelling any further on this word and that the meaning we gave it initially has generally "revailed over its !"ollinarian sense. &o be even fairer, we could "robably have taken over the word S=4(E+!&=E!<ISM em"loyed by F2rard de +erval in his dedication to the Filles "e (e!': (!nd also by &homas 'arlyle in Sartor Resart!s (M)ook IIIN 'ha"ter 5III, 0+atural Su"ernaturalism0 , ?GAA,AD. It a""ears, in fact, that +erval "ossessed to a tee the s"irit with which we claim a kinshi", !"ollinaire having "ossessed, on the contrary, naught but the letter, still im"erfect, of Surrealism, having shown himself "owerless to give a valid theoretical idea of it. >ere are two "assages by +erval which seem to me to be e#tremely significant in this res"ect$ I am going to e#"lain to you, my dear 8umas, the "henomenon of which you have s"oken a short while ago. &here are, as you know, certain storytellers who cannot invent without identifying with the characters their imagination has dreamt u". Cou may recall how convincingly our old friend +odier used to tell how it had been his misfortune during the Eevolution to be guillotined% one became so com"letely convinced of what he was saying that one began to wonder how he had managed to have his head glued back on. ...!nd since you have been indiscreet enough to *uote one of the sonnets com"osed in this S=4(E+!&=E!<IS&I' dream, state, as the Fermans would call it, you will have to hear them

all. Cou will find them at the end of the volume. &hey are hardly any more obscure than >egel9s meta"hysics or Swedenborg9s M(M/E!)I<I!, and would lose their charm if they were e#"lained, if such were "ossible% at least admit the worth of the e#"ression....:: (See also L.I"1or1alisme by Saint, 4ol,Eou#. &hose who might dis"ute our right to em"loy the term S=EE(!<ISM in the very s"ecial sense that we understand it are being e#tremely dishonest, for there can be no doubt that this word had no currency before we came along. &herefore, I am defining it once and for all$ S=EE(!<ISM, n' 4sychic automatism in its "ure state, by which one "ro"oses to e#"ress ,, verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner ,, the actual functioning of thought. 8ictated by the thought, in the absence of any control e#ercised by reason, e#em"t from any aesthetic or moral concern. (+'C'</4(8I!. -hiloso#h ' Surrealism is based on the belief in the su"erior reality of certain forms of "reviously neglected associations, in the omni"otence of dream, in the disinterested "lay of thought. It tends to ruin once and for all all other "sychic mechanisms and to substitute itself for them in solving all the "rinci"al "roblems of life. &he following have "erformed acts of !)S/<=&( S=EE(!<ISM$ Messrs. !ragon, )aron, )oiffard, )reton, 'arrive, 'revel, 8elteil, 8esnos, (luard, F2rard, <imbour, Malkine, Morise, +aville, +oll, 42ret, 4icon, Sou"ault, 5itrac. &hey seem to be, u" to the "resent time, the only ones, and there would be no ambiguity about it were it not for the case of Isidore 8ucasse, about whom I lack information. !nd, of course, if one is to judge them only su"erficially by their results, a good number of "oets could "ass for Surrealists, beginning with 8ante and, in his finer moments, Shakes"eare. In the co!rse o( the vario!s attem#ts I have ma"e to re"!ce what is, b breach o( tr!st, calle" geni!s, I have (o!n" nothing which in the (inal anal sis can be attrib!te" to an other metho" than that'

Coung9s Nights are Surrealist from one end to the other% unfortunately it is a "riest who is s"eaking, a bad "riest no doubt, but a "riest nonetheless. Swift is Surrealist in malice, Sade is Surrealist in sadism. 'hateaubriand is Surrealist in e#oticism. 'onstant is Surrealist in "olitics. >ugo is Surrealist when he isn9t stu"id. 8esbordes,5almore is Surrealist in love. )ertrand is Surrealist in the "ast. Eabbe is Surrealist in death. 4oe is Surrealist in adventure. )audelaire is Surrealist in morality. Eimbaud is Surrealist in the way he lived, and elsewhere. Mallarm2 is Surrealist when he is confiding. Iarry is Surrealist in absinthe. +ouveau is Surrealist in the kiss. Saint,4ol,Eou# is Surrealist in his use of symbols. 3argue is Surrealist in the atmos"here. 5ach2 is Surrealist in me. Eeverdy is Surrealist at home. Saint,Iean,4erse is Surrealist at a distance. Eoussel is Surrealist as a storyteller.

(tc. I would like to stress the "oint$ they are not always Surrealists, in that I discern in each of them a certain number of "reconceived ideas to which ,, very naively! ,, they hold. &hey hold to them because they had not hear" the S!rrealist voice, the one that continues to "reach on the eve of death and above the storms, because they did not want to serve sim"ly to orchestrate the marvelous score. &hey were instruments too full of "ride, and this is why they have not always "roduced a harmonious sound.: (I could say the same of a number of "hiloso"hers and "ainters, including, among the latter, =ccello, from "ainters of the "ast, and, in the modern era, Seurat, Fustave Moreau, Matisse (in 0<a Musi*ue,0 for e#am"le , 8erain, 4icasso, (by far the most "ure , )ra*ue, 8ucham", 4icabia, 'hirico (so admirable for so long , Blee, Man Eay, Ma# (rnst, and, one so close to us, !ndr2 Masson. )ut we, who have made no effort whatsoever to filter, who in our works have made ourselves into sim"le rece"tacles of so many echoes, modest recor"ing instr!ments who are not mesmeri7ed by the drawings we are making, "erha"s we serve an even nobler cause. &hus do we render with integrity the 0talent0 which has been lent to us. Cou might as well s"eak of the talent of this "latinum ruler, this mirror, this door, and of the sky, if you like. .e do not have any talent% ask 4hili""e Sou"ault$ 8Anatomical #ro"!cts o( man!(act!re an" low4income "wellings will "estro the tallest cities'8 !sk Eoger 5itrac$ 8No sooner ha" I calle" (orth the marble4a"miral than he t!rne" on his heel li)e a horse which rears at the sight o( the North star an" showe" me, in the #lane o( his two4#ointe" coc)e" hat, a region where I was to s#en" m li(e'8 !sk 4aul (luard$

8This is an o(t4tol" tale that I tell, a (amo!s #oem that I rerea"$ I am leaning against a wall, with m ver"ant ears an" m li#s b!rne" to a cris#'8 !sk Ma# Morise$ 8The bear o( the caves an" his (rien" the bittern, the vol4a!4 vent an" his valet the win", the Lor" ,hancellor with his La" , the scarecrow (or s#arrows an" his accom#lice the s#arrow, the test t!be an" his "a!ghter the nee"le, this carnivore an" his brother the carnival, the swee#er an" his monocle, the Mississi##i an" its little "og, the coral an" its 2!g o( mil), the Miracle an" its *oo" Lor", might 2!st as well go an" "isa##ear (rom the s!r(ace o( the sea'8 !sk Iose"h 8elteil$ 8Alas9 I believe in the virt!e o( bir"s' An" a (eather is all it ta)es to ma)e me "ie la!ghing'8 !sk <ouis !ragon$ 87!ring a short brea) in the #art , as the #la ers were gathering aro!n" a bowl o( (laming #!nch, I as)e" a tree i( it still ha" its re" ribbon'8 !nd ask me, who was unable to kee" myself from writing the ser"entine, distracting lines of this "reface. !sk Eobert 8esnos, he who, more than any of us, has "erha"s got closest to the Surrealist truth, he who, in his still un"ublished works: (+/=5(<<(S >J)EI8(S, 8JS/E8E( 3/EM(<, 8(=I< 4/=E 8(=I<. and in the course of the numerous e#"eriments he has been a "arty to, has fully justified the ho"e I "laced in Surrealism and leads me to believe that a great deal more will still come of it. 8esnos s#ea)s S!rrealist at will. >is e#traordinary agility in orally following his thought is worth as much to us as any number of s"lendid s"eeches which are lost, 8esnos having better things to do than record them. >e reads himself like an o"en book, and does nothing to retain the "ages, which fly away in the windy wake of his life.

S('E(&S /3 &>( M!FI'!< S=EE(!<IS& !E& :ritten S!rrealist com#osition or (irst an" last "ra(t !fter you have settled yourself in a "lace as favorable as "ossible to the concentration of your mind u"on itself, have writing materials brought to you. 4ut yourself in as "assive, or rece"tive, a state of mind as you can. 3orget about your genius, your talents, and the talents of everyone else. Bee" reminding yourself that literature is one of the saddest roads that leads to everything. .rite *uickly, without any "reconceived subject, fast enough so that you will not remember what you9re writing and be tem"ted to reread what you have written. &he first sentence will come s"ontaneously, so com"elling is the truth that with every "assing second there is a sentence unknown to our consciousness which is only crying out to be heard. It is somewhat of a "roblem to form an o"inion about the ne#t sentence% it doubtless "artakes both of our conscious activity and of the other, if one agrees that the fact of having written the first entails a minimum of "erce"tion. &his should be of no im"ortance to you, however% to a large e#tent, this is what is most interesting and intriguing about the Surrealist game. &he fact still remains that "unctuation no doubt resists the absolute continuity of the flow with which we are concerned, although it may seem as necessary as the arrangement of knots in a vibrating cord. Fo on as long as you like. 4ut your trust in the ine#haustible nature of the murmur. If silence threatens to settle in if you should ever ha""en to make a mistake ,, a mistake, "erha"s due to carelessness ,, break off without hesitation with an overly clear line. 3ollowing

a word the origin of which seems sus"icious to you, "lace any letter whatsoever, the letter 0l0 for e#am"le, always the letter 0l,0 and bring the arbitrary back by making this letter the first of the following word. ;ow not to be bore" an longer when with others &his is very difficult. 8on9t be at home for anyone, and occasionally, when no one has forced his way in, interru"ting you in the midst of your Surrealist activity, and you, crossing your arms, say$ 0It doesn9t matter, there are doubtless better things to do or not do. Interest in life is indefensible Sim"licity, what is going on inside me, is still tiresome to me!0 or an other revolting banality. To ma)e s#eeches Iust "rior to the elections, in the first country which deems it worthwhile to "roceed in this kind of "ublic e#"ression of o"inion, have yourself "ut on the ballot. (ach of us has within himself the "otential of an orator$ multicolored loin cloths, glass trinkets of words. &hrough Surrealism he will take des"air unawares in its "overty. /ne night, on a stage, he will, by himself, carve u" the eternal heaven, that -ea! "e l.o!rs' >e will "romise so much that any "romises he kee"s will be a source of wonder and dismay. In answer to the claims of an entire "eo"le he will give a "artial and ludicrous vote. >e will make the bitterest enemies "artake of a secret desire which will blow u" the countries. !nd in this he will succeed sim"ly by allowing himself to be moved by the immense word which dissolves into "ity and revolves in hate. Inca"able of failure, he will "lay on the velvet of all failures. >e will be truly elected, and women will love him with an all,consuming "assion. To write (alse novels .hoever you may be, if the s"irit moves you burn a few laurel leaves and, without wishing to tend this meager fire, you will begin to write a novel. Surrealism will allow you to$ all you have to do is set the needle marked 0fair0 at 0action,0 and the rest will follow naturally. >ere are some characters rather

different in a""earance% their names in your handwriting are a *uestion of ca"ital letters, and they will conduct themselves with the same ease with res"ect to active verbs as does the im"ersonal "ronoun 0it0 with res"ect to words such as 0is raining,0 0is,0 0must,0 etc. &hey will command them, so to s"eak, and wherever observation, reflection, and the faculty of generali7ation "rove to be of no hel" to you, you may rest assured that they will credit you with a thousand intentions you never had. &hus endowed with a tiny number of "hysical and moral characteristics, these beings who in truth owe you so little will thereafter deviate not one iota from a certain line of conduct about which you need not concern yourself any further. /ut of this will result a "lot more or less clever in a""earance, justifying "oint by "oint this moving or comforting denouement about which you couldn9t care less. Cour false novel will simulate to a marvelous degree a real novel% you will be rich, and everyone will agree that 0you9ve really got a lot of guts,0 since it9s also in this region that this something is located. /f course, by an analogous method, and "rovided you ignore what you are reviewing, you can successfully devote yourself to false literary criticism. ;ow to catch the e e o( a woman o! #ass in the street .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... ................................................................................ Against "eath Surrealism will usher you into death, which is a secret society. It will glove your hand, burying therein the "rofound M with which the word Memory begins. 8o not forget to make "ro"er arrangements for your last will and testament$ s"eaking "ersonally, I ask that I be taken to the cemetery in a moving

van. May my friends destroy every last co"y of the "rinting of the S#eech concerning the Mo"ic!m o( Realit ' <anguage has been given to man so that he may make Surrealist use of it. &o the e#tent that he is re*uired to make himself understood, he manages more or less to e#"ress himself, and by so doing to fulfill certain functions culled from among the most vulgar. S"eaking, reading a letter, "resent no real "roblem for him, "rovided that, in so doing, he does not set himself a goal above the mean, that is, "rovided he confines himself to carrying on a conversation (for the "leasure of conversing with someone. >e is not worried about the words that are going to come, nor about the sentence which will follow after the sentence he is just com"leting. &o a very sim"le *uestion, he will be ca"able of making a lightning,like re"ly. In the absence of minor tics ac*uired through contact with others, he can without any ado offer an o"inion on a limited number of subjects% for that he does not need to 0count u" to ten0 before s"eaking or to formulate anything whatever ahead of time. .ho has been able to convince him that this faculty of the first draft will only do him a disservice when he makes u" his mind to establish more delicate relationshi"s6 &here is no subject about which he should refuse to talk, to write about "rolifically. !ll that results from listening to oneself, from reading what one has written, is the sus"ension of the occult, that admirable hel". I am in no hurry to understand myself (basta! I shall always understand myself . If such and such a sentence of mine turns out to be somewhat disa""ointing, at least momentarily, I "lace my trust in the following sentence to redeem its sins% I carefully refrain from starting it over again or "olishing it. &he only thing that might "rove fatal to me would be the slightest loss of im"etus. .ords, grou"s of words which (ollow one another,manifest among themselves the greatest solidarity. It is not u" to me to favor one grou" over the other. It is u" to a miraculous e*uivalent to intervene ,, and intervene it does. +ot only does this unrestricted language, which I am trying to render forever valid, which seems to me to ada"t itself to all of

life9s circumstances, not only does this language not de"rive me of any of my means, on the contrary it lends me an e#traordinary lucidity, and it does so in an area where I least e#"ected it. I shall even go so far as to maintain that it instructs me and, indeed, I have had occasion to use s!rreall words whose meaning I have forgotten. I was subse*uently able to verify that the way in which I had used them corres"onded "erfectly with their definition. &his would leave one to believe that we do not 0learn,0 that all we ever do is 0relearn.0 &here are felicitous turns of s"eech that I have thus familiari7ed myself with. !nd I am not talking about the #oetic conscio!sness o( ob2ects which I have been able to ac*uire only after a s"iritual contact with them re"eated a thousand times over. &he forms of Surrealist language ada"t themselves best to dialogue. >ere, two thoughts confront each other% while one is being delivered, the other is busy with it% but how is it busy with it6 &o assume that it incor"orates it within itself would be tantamount to admitting that there is a time during which it is "ossible for it to live com"letely off that other thought, which is highly unlikely. !nd, in fact, the attention it "ays is com"letely e#terior% it has only time enough to a""rove or reject ,, generally reject ,, with all the consideration of which man is ca"able. &his mode of language, moreover, does not allow the heart of the matter to be "lumbed. My attention, "rey to an entreaty which it cannot in all decency reject, treats the o""osing thought as an enemy% in ordinary conversation, it 0takes it u"0 almost always on the words, the figures of s"eech, it em"loys% it "uts me in a "osition to turn it to good advantage in my re"ly by distorting them. &his is true to such a degree that in certain "athological states of mind, where the sensorial disorders occu"y the "atient9s com"lete attention, he limits himself, while continuing to answer the *uestions, to sei7ing the last word s"oken in his "resence or the last "ortion of the Surrealist sentence some trace of which he finds in his mind. O. 0>ow old are you60 !. 0Cou.0 <Echolalia'=

O. 0.hat is your name60 !. 03orty,five houses.0 <*anser s n"rome, or besi"e4the4#oint re#lies'= &here is no conversation in which some trace of this disorder does not occur. &he effort to be social which dictates it and the considerable "ractice we have at it are the only things which enable us to conceal it tem"orarily. It is also the great weakness of the book that it is in constant conflict with its best, by which I mean the most demanding, readers. In the very short dialogue that I concocted above between the doctor and the madman, it was in fact the madman who got the better of the e#change. )ecause, through his re"lies, he obtrudes u"on the attention of the doctor e#amining him ,, and because he is not the "erson asking the *uestions. 8oes this mean that his thought at this "oint is stronger6 4erha"s. >e is free not to care any longer about his age or name. 4oetic Surrealism, which is the subject of this study, has focused its efforts u" to this "oint on reestablishing dialogue in its absolute truth, by freeing both interlocutors from any obligations and "oliteness. (ach of them sim"ly "ursues his solilo*uy without trying to derive any s"ecial dialectical "leasure from it and without trying to im"ose anything whatsoever u"on his neighbor. &he remarks e#changed are not, as is generally the case, meant to develo" some thesis, however unim"ortant it may be% they are as disaffected as "ossible. !s for the re"ly that they elicit, it is, in "rinci"le, totally indifferent to the "ersonal "ride of the "erson s"eaking. &he words, the images are only so many s"ringboards for the mind of the listener. In Les ,ham#s magn1ti/!es, the first "urely Surrealist work, this is the way in which the "ages grou"ed together under the title >arri?res must be conceived of ,, "ages wherein Sou"ault and I show ourselves to be im"artial interlocutors.

Surrealism does not allow those who devote themselves to it to forsake it whenever they like. &here is every reason to believe

that it acts on the mind very much as drugs do% like drugs, it creates a certain state of need and can "ush man to frightful revolts. It also is, if you like, an artificial "aradise, and the taste one has for it derives from )audelaire9s criticism for the same reason as the others. &hus the analysis of the mysterious effects and s"ecial "leasures it can "roduce ,, in many res"ects Surrealism occurs as a new vice which does not necessarily seem to be restricted to the ha""y few% like hashish, it has the ability to satisfy all manner of tastes ,, such an analysis has to be included in the "resent study. ?. It is true of Surrealist images as it is of o"ium images that man does not evoke them% rather they 0come to him s"ontaneously, des"otically. >e cannot chase them away% for the will is "owerless now and no longer controls the faculties.0: ()audelaire. It remains to be seen whether images have ever been 0evoked.0 If one acce"ts, as I do, Eeverdy9s definition it does not seem "ossible to bring together, voluntarily, what he calls 0two distant realities.0 &he ju#ta"osition is made or not made, and that is the long and the short of it. 4ersonally, I absolutely refuse to believe that, in Eeverdy9s work, images such as In the broo), there is a song that (lows or$ 7a !n(ol"e" li)e a white tablecloth or$ The worl" goes bac) into a sac) reveal the slightest degree of "remeditation. In my o"inion, it is erroneous to claim that 0the mind has gras"ed the relationshi"0 of two realities in the "resence of each other. 3irst of all, it has sei7ed nothing consciously. It is, as it were, from the fortuitous ju#ta"osition of the two terms that a "articular light has s"rung, the light o( the image, to which we are infinitely sensitive. &he value of the image de"ends u"on the beauty of the s"ark obtained% it is, conse*uently, a function of the difference of "otential between the two conductors.

.hen the difference e#ists only slightly, as in a com"arison,: ('om"are the image in the work of Iules Eenard. the s"ark is lacking. +ow, it is not within man9s "ower, so far as I can tell, to effect the ju#ta"osition of two realities so far a"art. &he "rinci"le of the association of ideas, such as we conceive of it, militates against it. /r else we would have to revert to an elli"tical art, which Eeverdy de"lores as much as I. .e are therefore obliged to admit that the two terms of the image are not deduced one from the other by the mind for the s"ecific "ur"ose of "roducing the s"ark, that they are the simultaneous "roducts of the activity I call Surrealist, reason9s role being limited to taking note of, and a""reciating, the luminous "henomenon. !nd just as the length of the s"ark increases to the e#tent that it occurs in rarefied gases, the Surrealist atmos"here created by automatic writing, which I have wanted to "ut within the reach of everyone, is es"ecially conducive to the "roduction of the most beautiful images. /ne can even go so far as to say that in this di77ying race the images a""ear like the only guide"osts of the mind. )y slow degrees the mind becomes convinced of the su"reme reality of these images. !t first limiting itself to submitting to them, it soon reali7es that they flatter its reason, and increase its knowledge accordingly. &he mind becomes aware of the limitless e#"anses wherein its desires are made manifest, where the "ros and cons are constantly consumed, where its obscurity does not betray it. It goes forward, borne by these images which enra"ture it, which scarcely leave it any time to blow u"on the fire in its fingers. &his is the most beautiful night of all, the lightning4(ille" night$ day, com"ared to it, is night. &he countless kinds of Surrealist images would re*uire a classification which I do not intend to make today. &o grou" them according to their "articular affinities would lead me far afield% what I basically want to mention is their common virtue. 3or me, their greatest virtue, I must confess, is the one that is arbitrary to the highest degree, the one that takes the longest time to translate into "ractical language, either because it contains an immense amount of seeming contradiction or because one of its terms is strangely concealed% or because,

"resenting itself as something sensational, it seems to end weakly (because it suddenly closes the angle of its com"ass , or because it derives from itself a ridiculous (ormal justification, or because it is of a hallucinatory kind, or because it very naturally gives to the abstract the mask of the concrete, or the o""osite, or because it im"lies the negation of some elementary "hysical "ro"erty, or because it "rovokes laughter. >ere, in order, are a few e#am"les of it$ The r!b o( cham#agne' (<!=&EJ!M/+& >ea!ti(!l as the law o( arreste" "evelo#ment o( the breast in a"!lts, whose #ro#ensit to growth is not in #ro#ortion to the /!antit o( molec!les that their organism assimilates' (<!=&EJ!M/+& A ch!rch stoo" "a00ling as a bell' (4>I<I44( S/=4!=<& In Rrose S1lav .s slee# there is a "war( iss!e" (rom a well who comes to eat her brea" at night' (E/)(E& 8(S+/S On the bri"ge the "ew with the hea" o( a tabb cat l!lls itsel( to slee#' (!+8EJ )E(&/+ A little to the le(t, in m (irmament (oretol", I see 44 b!t it.s "o!btless b!t a mist o( bloo" an" m!r"er 44 the gleaming glass o( libert .s "ist!rbances' (</=IS !E!F/+ In the (orest a(lame The lions were (resh' (E/)(E& 5I&E!' The color o( a woman.s stoc)ings is not necessaril in the li)eness o( her e es, which le" a #hiloso#her who it is #ointless to mention, to sa $ 8,e#halo#o"s have more reasons to hate #rogress than "o /!a"r!#e"s'8 (M!P M/EIS( @st' .hether we like it or not, there is enough there to satisfy several demands of the mind. !ll these images seem to attest to the fact that the mind is ri"e for something more than the

benign joys it allows itself in general. &his is the only way it has of turning to its own advantage the ideal *uantity of events with which it is entrusted.: (<et us no forget that, according to +ovalis9 formula, 0there are series of events which run "arallel to real events. Men and circumstances generally modify the ideal train of circumstances, so that is seems im"erfect% and their conse*uences are also e*ually im"erfect. &hus it was with the Eeformation% instead of 4rotestantism, we got <utheranism.0 &hese images show it the e#tent of its ordinary dissi"ation and the drawbacks that it offers for it. In the final analysis, it9s not such a bad thing for these images to u"set the mind, for to u"set the mind is to "ut it in the wrong. &he sentences I *uote make am"le "rovision for this. )ut the mind which relishes them draws therefrom the conviction that it is on the right trac)% on its own, the mind is inca"able of finding itself guilty of cavil% it has nothing to fear, since, moreover, it attem"ts to embrace everything. An"' &he mind which "lunges into Surrealism relives with glowing e#citement the best "art of its childhood. 3or such a mind, it is similar to the certainty with which a "erson who is drowning reviews once more, in the s"ace of less than a second, all the insurmountable moments of his life. Some may say to me that the "arallel is not very encouraging. )ut I have no intention of encouraging those who tell me that. 3rom childhood memories, and from a few others, there emanates a sentiment of being unintegrated, and then later of having gone astra ,which I hold to be the most fertile that e#ists. It is "erha"s childhood that comes closest to one9s 0real life0% childhood beyond which man has at his dis"osal, aside from his laisse7,"asser, only a few com"limentary tickets% childhood where everything nevertheless cons"ires to bring about the effective, risk,free "ossession of oneself. &hanks to Surrealism, it seems that o""ortunity knocks a second time. It is as though we were still running toward our salvation, or our "erdition. In the shadow we again see a "recious terror. &hank Fod, it9s still only 4urgatory. .ith a shudder, we cross what the occultists call "angero!s territor ' In my wake I raise u" monsters that are lying in wait% they are not yet too ill,dis"osed toward me, and I am not lost, since I fear them. >ere are 0the ele"hants with the heads of women and the flying lions0 which used to

make Sou"ault and me tremble in our boots to meet, here is the 0soluble fish0 which still frightens me slightly. 4/ISS/+ S/<=)<(, am I not the soluble fish, I was born under the sign of 4isces, and man is soluble in his thought! &he flora and fauna of Surrealism are inadmissible. Br"' I do not believe in the establishment of a conventional Surrealist "attern any time in the near future. &he characteristics common to all the te#ts of this kind, including those I have just cited and many others which alone could offer us a logical analysis and a careful grammatical analysis, do not "reclude a certain evolution of Surrealist "rose in time. 'oming on the heels of a large number of essays I have written in this vein over the "ast five years, most of which I am indulgent enough to think are e#tremely disordered, the short anecdotes which com"rise the balance of this volume offer me a glaring "roof of what I am saying. I do not judge them to be any more worthless, because of that, in "ortraying for the reader the benefits which the Surrealist contribution is liable to make to his consciousness. Surrealist methods would, moreover, demand to be heard. (verything is valid when it comes to obtaining the desired suddenness from certain associations. &he "ieces of "a"er that 4icasso and )ra*ue insert into their work have the same value as the introduction of a "latitude into a literary analysis of the most rigorous sort. It is even "ermissible to entitle 4/(M what we get from the most random assemblage "ossible (observe, if you will, the synta# of headlines and scra"s of headlines cut out of the news"a"ers$

POEM ! burst of laughter

of sapphire in the islan !e"lon

of

The most bea!ti(!l straws

>!5( ! 3!8(8 '/</E


#NDER T$E %O!&'

on an isolated farm
FROM DAY TO DAY

the pleasant

grows worse

coffee
prea(hes for its saint
&>( 8!I<C !E&IS!+ /3 C/=E )(!=&C

M!8!M)

of sil* sto(*in+s
is not

! lea" into s"ace


A 'TA, Love above all

(verything could be worked out so well


PAR-' -' A B-, .-%%A,E

/at(h o0t for

the fire that (o1ers


&>( 4E!C(E

of fair 2eather

Bnow that
The 0ltra1iolet ra"s
have finished their task short an" sweet

&>( 3IES& .>I&( 4!4(E


O3 !$AN!E
Re 2ill 4e
The 2an erin+ sin+er

/$ERE -' $E5

in 6e6or"

in his ho0se
AT T$E '#-TOR'7 BA%%

I do as I dance

/hat people i ) 2hat the"7re +oin+ to o


!nd we could offer many many more e#am"les. &he theater, "hiloso"hy, science, criticism would all succeed in finding their bearings there. I hasten to add that future Surrealist techni*ues do not interest me.

3ar more serious, in my o"inion: (.hatever reservations I may be allowed to make concerning res"onsibility in general and the medico,legal considerations which determine an individual9s degree of res"onsibility ,, com"lete res"onsibility, irres"onsibility, limited res"onsibility (sic ,, however difficult it may be for me to acce"t the "rinci"le of any kind of res"onsibility, I would like to know how the first "unishable offenses, the Surrealist character of which will be clearly a""arent, will be 2!"ge"' .ill the accused be ac*uitted, or will he merely be given the benefit of the doubt because of

e#tenuating circumstances6 It9s a shame that the violation of the laws governing the 4ress is today scarcely re"ressed, for if it were not we would soon see a trial of this sort$ the accused has "ublished a book which is an outrage to "ublic decency. Several of his 0most res"ected and honorable0 fellow citi7ens have lodged a com"laint against him, and he is also charged with slander and libel. &here are also all sorts of other charges against him, such as insulting and defaming the army, inciting to murder, ra"e, etc. &he accused, moreover, wastes no time in agreeing with the accusers in 0stigmati7ing0 most of the ideas e#"ressed. >is only defense is claiming that he does not consider himself to be the author of his book, said book being no more and no less than a Surrealist concoction which "recludes any *uestion of merit or lack of merit on the "art of the "erson who signs it% further, that all he has done is co"y a document without offering any o"inion thereon, and that he is at least as foreign to the accused te#t as is the "residing judge himself. .hat is true for the "ublication of a book will also hold true for a whole host of other acts as soon as Surrealist methods begin to enjoy wides"read favor. .hen that ha""ens, a new morality must be substituted for the "revailing morality, the source of all our trials and tribulations. ,, I have intimated it often enough ,, are the a""lications of Surrealism to action. &o be sure, I do not believe in the "ro"hetic nature of the Surrealist word. 0It is the oracle, the things I say.0: (Eimbaud. Ces, as m!ch as I li)e, but what of the oracle itself6:: (Still, S&I<<.... .e must absolutely get to the bottom of this. &oday, Iune G, ?K@D, about one o9clock, the voice whis"ered to me$ 0)2thune, )2thune.0 .hat did it mean6 I have never been to )2thune, and have only the vaguest notion as to where it is located on the ma" of 3rance. )2thune evokes nothing for me, not even a scene from The Three M!s)eteers' I should have left for )2thune, where "erha"s there was something awaiting me% that would have been to sim"le, really. Someone told me they had read in a book by 'hesterton about a detective who, in order to find someone he is looking for in a certain city, sim"ly scoured from roof to cellar the houses which, from the outside, seemed somehow abnormal to him, were it only in some slight detail. &his system is as good as any other.

Similarly, in ?K?K, Sou"ault went into any number of im"ossible buildings to ask the concierge whether 4hili""e Sou"ault did in fact live there. >e would not have been sur"rised, I sus"ect, by an affirmative re"ly. >e would have gone and knocked on his door. Men9s "iety does not fool me. &he Surrealist voice that shook 'umae, 8odona, and 8el"hi is nothing more than the voice which dictates my less irascible s"eeches to me. My time must not be its time, why should this voice hel" me resolve the childish "roblem of my destiny6 I "retend, unfortunately, to act in a world where, in order to take into account its suggestions, I would be obliged to resort to two kinds of inter"reters, one to translate its judgements for me, the other, im"ossible to find, to transmit to my fellow men whatever sense I could make out of them. &his world, in which I endure what I endure (don-t go see , this modern world, I mean, what the devil do you want me to do with it6 4erha"s the Surrealist voice will be stilled, I have given u" trying to kee" track of those who have disa""eared. I shall no longer enter into, however briefly, the marvelous detailed descri"tion of my years and my days. I shall be like +ijinski who was taken last year to the Eussian ballet and did not reali7e what s"ectacle it was he was seeing. I shall be alone, very alone within myself, indifferent to all the world-s ballets. .hat I have done, what I have left undone, I give it to you.

!nd ever since I have had a great desire to show forbearance to scientific musing, however unbecoming, in the final analysis, from every "oint of view. Eadios6 3ine. Sy"hilis6 If you like. 4hotogra"hy6 I don-t see any reason why not. &he cinema6 &hree cheers for darkened rooms. .ar6 Fave us a good laugh. &he tele"hone6 >ello. Couth6 'harming white hair. &ry to make me say thank you$ 0&hank you.0 &hank you. If the common man has a high o"inion of things which "ro"erly s"eaking belong to the realm of the laboratory, it is because such research has resulted in the manufacture of a machine or the discovery of some serum which the man in the street views as affecting him directly. >e is *uite sure that they have been

trying to im"rove his lot. I am not *uite sure to what e#tent scholars are motivated by humanitarian aims, but it does not seem to me that this factor constitutes a very marked degree of goodness. I am, of course, referring to true scholars and not to the vulgari7ers and "o"ulari7ers of all sorts who take out "atents. In this realm as in any other, I believe in the "ure Surrealist joy of the man who, forewarned that all others before him have failed, refuses to admit defeat, sets off from whatever "oint he chooses, along any other "ath save a reasonable one, and arrives wherever he can. Such and such an image, by which he deems it o""ortune to indicate his "rogress and which may result, "erha"s, in his receiving "ublic acclaim, is to me, I must confess, a matter of com"lete indifference. +or is the material with which he must "erforce encumber himself% his glass tubes or my metallic feathers1 !s for his method, I am willing to give it as much credit as I do mine. I have seen the inventor of the cutaneous "lantar refle# at work% he mani"ulated his subjects without res"ite, it was much more than an 0e#amination0 he was em"loying% it was obvio!s that he was (ollowing no set #lan' >ere and there he formulated a remark, distantly, without nonetheless setting down his needle, while his hammer was never still. >e left to others the futile task of curing "atients. >e was wholly consumed by and devoted to that sacred fever.

Surrealism, such as I conceive of it, asserts our com"lete noncon(ormism clearly enough so that there can be no *uestion of translating it, at the trial of the real world, as evidence for the defense. It could, on the contrary, only serve to justify the com"lete state of distraction which we ho"e to achieve here below. Bant-s absentmindedness regarding women, 4asteur-s absentmindedness about 0gra"es,0 'urie-s absentmindedness with res"ect to vehicles, are in this regard "rofoundly sym"tomatic. &his world is only very relatively in tune with thought, and incidents of this kind are only the most obvious e"isodes of a war in which I am "roud to be "artici"ating. 0'e monde n-est *ue tr;s relativement Q la mesure de la "ens2e et les incidents de ce genre ne sont *ue les 2"isodes jus*u-ici les "lus mar*uants d-une guerre

d-ind2"endence Q la*uelle je me fais gloire de "artici"er.0 Surrealism is the 0invisible ray0 which will one day enable us to win out over our o""onents. 0Cou are no longer trembling, carcass.0 &his summer the roses are blue% the wood is of glass. &he earth, dra"ed in its verdant cloak, makes as little im"ression u"on me as a ghost. It is living and ceasing to live which are imaginary solutions. (#istence is elsewhere.

8888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888 &his virtual version of the Manifesto of Surrealism was created in ?KKK. 3eel free to co"y this virtual document and distribute it as you wish. Cou may contact the transcriber at any time by writing to$ s!rrealist'revol!tionCs) mail'(r