Breton, André

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Breton, André

Breton, André

(äNdrā` brətôN`), 1896–1966, French writer, founder and theorist of the surrealist movement. He studied neuropsychology and was one of the first in France to publicize the work of Freud. At first a Dadaist, he collaborated with Philippe Soupault in automatic writing in Les Champs magnétiques (1921). He then turned to surrealismsurrealism
, literary and art movement influenced by Freudianism and dedicated to the expression of imagination as revealed in dreams, free of the conscious control of reason and free of convention.
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, writing three manifestos (1924, 1930, 1934) and opening a studio for "surrealist research." Breton helped to found several reviews: Littérature (1919), Minotaure (1933), and VVV (1944). His other works include Nadja (1928, tr. 1960), a semiautobiographical novel; What is Surrealism? (1934, tr. 1936); Ode à Charles Fourier (1946); and L' Art Magique (1957).


See biography by M. Polizzotti (1995); study by A. E. Balakian (1971); A. E. Balakian and R. E. Kuenzli, ed., André Breton Today (1989).

Breton, André


Born Feb. 19, 1896, in Tinchebray, Orne Department; died Sept. 28, 1966, in Paris. French writer.

Breton is the author of Manifesto of Surrealism (1924) and The Second Manifesto of Surrealism (1930). He sympathized with Trotskyism. In the books Arcane 17 (1945), The Situation of Surrealism Between the Two Wars (1945), and Lamp in the Clock (1948), Breton criticized contemporary bourgeois culture. Breton’s artistic prose (Nadja, 1928, and Mad Passion, 1937) and his poems (Free Alliance, 1931; The Gray-haired Revolver, 1932; and others) alternate lively sketches with attacks on the reality of the world.


L’Art magique, vol. 1. Paris, 1957. (With G. Legrand.)
Poésie et autre. Paris, 1960.
Manifestes du surrealisme. Paris, 1963.
Anthologie de l’humeur noire. [Paris, 1966.]


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 4. Moscow, 1963.
Nadeau, M. Histoire du surréalisme, vols. 1-2. Paris, 1945-48.
Mauriac, C. André Breton. Paris, [1949].
“A. Breton (1896-1966) et le mouvement surréaliste.” La Nouvelle revue française, April 1967, no. 172.
Carrouges, M. A. Breton et les données fondamentales du surréalisme. [Paris, 1967.]