Tristan Tzara

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Tzara, Tristan

(trēstäN` tsä`rä), 1896–1963, French writer, b. Romania. He studied at the Univ. of Zürich, where he and his friends formulated the dadaist movement initially as a pacifist statement (see DadaDada
or Dadaism
, international nihilistic movement among European artists and writers that lasted from 1916 to 1922. Born of the widespread disillusionment engendered by World War I, it originated in Zürich with a 1916 party at the Cabaret Voltaire and the
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). His theories are expressed in Sept manifestes dada [seven dadaist manifestos] (1924). Tzara moved to Paris in 1921 and worked with André Breton. His poetry is collected in Vingt-cinque Poèmes (1918) and De la coup aux lèvres (1961).


See his Approximate Man and Other Writings (tr. 1973).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tzara, Tristan


(real name, Samy Rosenstock). Born Apr. 14, 1896, in Moinesti, Rumania; died Dec. 24, 1963, in Paris. French poet.

In Paris in 1919, Tzara became one of the leaders of a group of dadaists, whose views he later expounded in Seven Manifestos of Dada (1924). He subsequently turned to surrealism, publishing his Essay on the State of Poetry (1931). During the rise of fascism, Tzara joined other leading representatives from the world of culture in defending the basic values of humanism as they came under attack. He later contributed to newspapers of the French Resistance.

In his early lyric poetry, including the collection The First Celestial Adventure of Monsieur Antipyrine (1916), Tzara expressed his anarchical rebellion against civilization through an almost futuristic language, consisting of disconnected and chaotic fragments of speech that could be perceived as those of a lunatic. In his later works, however, including the collections Noontides Gained (1939), Earth Descends Upon Earth (1946), At Full Flame (1955), and Permitted Fruit (1956), Tzara made use of symbolic language to convey his profound feelings on the tragedy of the human condition, writing of the hopes that animate man and impel him to seek happiness for himself and others.


Choix de textes: Présentation par R. Lacöte et G. Haldas. Paris, 1952.
In Russian translation:
[Poems.] In Ia pishu tvoe imia, Svoboda. Moscow, 1968.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 4. Moscow, 1963.
Andreev, L. Siurrealizm. Moscow, 1972.
Peterson, E. Tristan Tzara: Dada and Surrational Theorist. New Brunswick, N.J. [1971].


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.