André Breton

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Sir James M. Barrie
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André Breton (19 February 189628 September 1966) was a French writer, poet and theorist of Surrealism.


Le Manifeste du Surréalisme (Manifesto of Surrealism; 1924)

  • I could spend my whole life prying loose the secrets of the insane. These people are honest to a fault, and their naivety has no peer but my own.
  • SURREALISM, n. Pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, or in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation.
    • The Abridged Dictionary of Surrealism, reprinted in Marguerite Bonnet, ed. (1988). Oeuvres complètes, 1:328. Paris: Éditions Gallimard.

Le Surréalisme et la Peinture (Surrealism and Painting; 1926)

  • L'amour est toujours devant vous. Aimez.
    • Love is always before you. Love it.
  • L'œil existe à l'état sauvage.
    • Eyes exist in the state of savage.


  • Beauty will be convulsive or not at all.
    • Nadja
  • Everything that is doddering, squint-eyed, infamous, sullying, and grotesque is contained for me in this single word: God.
  • I have always been amazed at the way an ordinary observer lends so much more credence and attaches so much more importance to waking events than to those occurring in dreams... Man... is above all the plaything of his memory.
  • In the world we live in everything militates in favor of things that have not yet happened, of things that will never happen again.
  • It is living and ceasing to live that are imaginary solutions. Existence is elsewhere.
  • Let us not mince words.. the marvelous is always beautiful, anything marvelous is beautiful, in fact only the marvelous is beautiful.
  • No rules exist, and examples are simply life-savers answering the appeals of rules making vain attempts to exist.
  • Of all those arts in which the wise excel, Nature's chief masterpiece is writing well.
  • The man who can't visualize a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot.
  • The mind which plunges into Surrealism, relives with burning excitement the best part of childhood.
  • To see, to hear, means nothing. To recognize (or not to recognize) means everything. Between what I do recognize and what I do not recognize there stands myself. And what I do not recognize I shall continue not to recognize.
  • The simplest surrealist act consists in going into the street with revolvers in your fist and shooting blindly into the crowd as much as possible. Anyone who has never felt the desire to deal thus with the current wretched principle of humiliation and stultification clearly belongs in this crowd himself with his belly at bullet height.
  • What I have loved, whether I have kept it or not, I shall love forever.
  • Mexico is the most surrealist country in the world.

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