Surrealist Manifesto of 1924 written by Andre Breton and transcribed 1999 

==Opening Manifesto==

    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!). At this point he 
    feels extremely modest: he knows what women he has had, what silly affairs he has been involved in; he is unimpressed by his
    wealth or his poverty, in this respect he is still a newborn babe and, as for the approval 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. There, the absence of any known 
    restrictions allows him the perspective of several lives lived at once; this illusion becomes firmly rooted within him; now he
    is only interested in the fleeting, the extreme facility of everything. Children set off each day without a worry in the world.
    Everything is near at hand, the worst material conditions are fine. The woods are white or black, one will never sleep.

    But it is true that we would not dare venture so far, it is not merely a question of distance. Threat is piled upon threat, one 
    yields, abandons a portion of the terrain to be conquered. This imagination which knows no bounds is henceforth allowed to be 
    exercised only in strict accordance with the laws of an arbitrary utility; it is incapable of assuming this inferior role for 
    very long and, in the vicinity of the twentieth year, generally prefers to abandon man to his lusterless fate. 

    Though he may later try to pull himself together on occasion, having felt that he is losing by slow degrees all reason for 
    living, incapable as he has become of being able to rise to some exceptional situation such as love, he will hardly succeed. 
    This is because he henceforth belongs body and soul to an imperative practical necessity which demands his constant attention. 
    None of his gestures will be expansive, 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 participated, abortive events. What 
    am I saying: he will judge them in relationship to one of these events whose consequences are more reassuring than the others. 
    On no account will he view them as his salvation.

    Beloved imagination, what I most like in you is your unsparing quality.

    There remains madness, "the madness that one locks up," as it has aptly been described. That madness or another…. We all know,
    in fact, that the insane owe their incarceration to a tiny number of legally reprehensible 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 pay attention to certain rules – outside of which the 
    species feels threatened – which we are all supposed to know and respect. But their profound indifference to the way in which 
    we judge them, and even to the various punishments meted out to them, allows us to suppose 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 extend beyond themselves. And, indeed, hallucinations, illusions, etc., are not a source of trifling 
    pleasure. The best controlled sensuality partakes of it, and I know that there are many evenings when I would gladly that 
    pretty hand which, during the last pages of Taine’s L’Intelligence, [] indulges in some curious misdeeds. 
    I could spend my whole life prying loose the secrets of the insane. These people are honest to a fault, and their naiveté has  
    no peer but my own. Christopher Columbus should have set out to discover America with a boatload of madmen. And note how this
    madness has taken shape, and endured.

    It is not the fear of madness which will oblige us to leave the flag of imagination furled.

    The case against the realistic attitude demands to be examined, following the case against the materialistic attitude. The 
    latter, more poetic in fact than the former, admittedly implies on the part of man a kind of monstrous pride which, admittedly, 
    is monstrous, but not a new and more complete decay. It should above all be viewed as a welcome reaction against certain 
    ridiculous tendencies of spiritualism. Finally, it is not incompatible with a certain nobility of thought.

    By contrast, the realistic attitude, inspired by positivism, from Saint Thomas Aquinas to Anatole France, clearly seems to me 
    to be hostile to any intellectual or moral advancement. I loathe it, for it is made up of mediocrity, hate, and dull conceit. 
    It is this attitude which today gives birth to these ridiculous books, these insulting plays. It constantly feeds on and 
    derives strength from the newspapers and stultifies both science and art by assiduously flattering the lowest of tastes; 
    clarity bordering on stupidity, a dog’s life. The activity of the best minds feels the effects of it; the law of the lowest 
    common denominator finally prevails upon them as it does upon the others. An amusing result of this state of affairs, in 
    literature for example, is the generous supply of novels. Each person adds his personal little "observation" to the whole. As 
    a cleansing antidote to all this, M. Paul Valery recently suggested that an anthology be compiled in which the largest 
    possible number of opening passages from novels be offered; the resulting insanity, he predicted, would be a source of 
    considerable edification. The most famous authors would be included. Such a though reflects great credit on Paul Valery who, 
    some time ago, speaking of novels, assured me that, so far as he was concerned, he would continue to refrain from writing: 
    "The Marquise went out at five." But has he kept his word?

    If the purely informative style, of which the sentence just quoted is a prime example, is virtually the rule rather than the 
    exception in the novel form, it is because, in all fairness, the author’s ambition is severely circumscribed. The circumstantial, 
    needlessly specific nature of each of their notations leads me to believe that they are perpetrating a joke at my expense. I am 
    spared not even one of the character’s slightest vacillations: will he be fairhaired? what will his name be? will we first meet 
    him during the summer? So many questions resolved once and for all, as chance directs; the only discretionary power left me is to 
    close the book, which I am careful to do somewhere in the vicinity of the first page. And the descriptions! There is nothing to 
    which their vacuity can be compared; they are nothing but so many superimposed images taken from some stock catalogue, which the 
    author utilizes more and more whenever he chooses; he seizes the opportunity to slip me his postcards, he tries to make me agree 
    with him about the clichés:

    The small room into which the young man was shown was covered with yellow wallpaper: there were geraniums in the windows, which 
    were covered with muslin curtains; the setting sun cast a harsh light over the entire setting…. There was nothing special about 
    the room. The furniture, of yellow wood, was all very old. A sofa with a tall back turned down, an oval table opposite the sofa,  
    a dressing table and a mirror set against the pierglass, some chairs along the walls, two or three etchings of no value 
    portraying some German girls with birds in their hands – such were the furnishings. (Dostoevski?, Crime and Punishment)

    I am in no mood to admit that the mind is interested in occupying itself with such matters, even fleetingly. It may be argued 
    that this school-boy description has its place, and that at this juncture of the book the author has his reasons for burdening 
    me. Nevertheless he is wasting his time, for I refuse to go into his room. Others’ laziness or fatigue does not interest me. I 
    have too unstable a notion of the continuity of life to equate or compare my moments of depression or weakness with my best 
    moments. When one ceases to feel, I am of the opinion one should keep quiet. And I would like it understood that I am not 
    accusing or condemning lack of originality as such. I am only saying that I do not take particular note of the empty moments of 
    my life, that it may be unworthy for any man to crystallize those which seem to him to be so. I shall, with your permission, 
    ignore the description of that room, and many more like it.

    Not so fast, there; I’m getting into the area of psychology, a subject about which I shall be careful not to joke.

    The author attacks a character and, this being settled upon, parades his hero to and fro across the world. No matter what 
    happens, this hero, whose actions and reactions are admirably predictable, is compelled not to thwart or upset -- even though he 
    looks as though he is -- the calculations of which he is the object. The currents of life can appear to lift him up, roll him 
    over, cast him down, he will still belong to this ready made human type. A simple game of chess which doesn't interest me in the 
    least -- man, whoever he may be, being for me a mediocre opponent. What I cannot bear are those wretched discussions relative to 
    such and such a move, since winning or losing is not in question. And if the game is not worth the candle, if objective reason 
    does a frightful job -- as indeed it does -- of serving him who calls upon it, is it not fitting and proper to avoid all contact 
    with these categories? "Diversity is so vast that every different tone of voice, every step, cough, every wipe of the nose, every 
    sneeze...."* (Pascal []). If in a cluster of grapes there are no two alike, 
    why do you want me to describe this grape by the other, by all the others, why do you want me to make a palatable grape? Our 
    brains are dulled by the incurable mania of wanting to make the unknown known, classifiable. The desire for analysis wins out  
    over the sentiments.** (Barrès [], Proust []). The result is statements of undue length whose persuasive power is 
    attributable solely to their strangeness and which impress the reader only by the abstract quality of their vocabulary, which 
    moreover is ill-defined. If the general ideas that philosophy has thus far come up with as topics 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. But 
    up till now it has been nothing but idle repartee; 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 person who has been capable of committing it, that it is endowed with a radiant power which the 
    slightest gloss is certain to diminish. Because of this gloss, it even in a sense ceases to happen. It gains nothing to be thus 
    distinguished. Stendhal's [] heroes are subject to the comments and appraisals -- appraisals which are more or less 
    successful -- made by that author, which add not one whit to their glory. Where we really find them again is at the point at 
    which Stendahl has lost them.

    We are still living under the reign of logic: this, of course, is what I have been driving at. But in this day and age logical   
    methods are applicable only to solving problems of secondary interest. The absolute rationalism that is still in vogue allows us 
    to consider only facts relating directly to our experience. Logical ends, on the contrary, escape us. It is pointless to add that 
    experience itself has found itself increasingly circumscribed. It paces back and forth in a cage from which it is more and more 
    difficult to make it emerge. It too leans for support on what is most immediately expedient, and it is protected by the sentinels 
    of common sense. Under the pretense of civilization and progress, we have managed to banish from the mind everything that may 
    rightly or wrongly be termed superstition, or fancy; forbidden is any kind of search for truth which is not in conformance with 
    accepted practices. It was, apparently, by pure chance that a part of our mental world which we pretended not to be concerned 
    with any longer -- and, in my opinion by far the most important part -- has been brought back to light. For this we must give 
    thanks to the discoveries of Sigmund Freud. On the basis of these discoveries a current of opinion is finally forming by means of 
    which the human explorer will be able to carry his investigation much further, authorized as he will henceforth be not to confine 
    himself solely to the most summary realities. The imagination is perhaps on the point of reasserting itself, of reclaiming its 
    rights. If the depths of our mind contain within it strange forces capable of augmenting those on the surface, or of waging a 
    victorious battle against them, there is every reason to seize them -- first to seize them, then, if need be, to submit them to 
    the control of our reason. The analysts themselves have everything to gain by it. But it is worth noting that no means has  
    been designated a priori for carrying out this undertaking, that until further notice it can be construed to be the province of 
    poets as well as scholars, and that its success is not dependent upon the more or less capricious paths that will be followed.


    Freud? very rightly brought his critical faculties to bear upon the dream. It is, in fact, inadmissible that this considerable 
    portion of psychic activity (since, at least from man's birth until his death, thought offers no solution of continuity, the sum 
    of the moments of the dream, from the point of view of time, and taking into consideration only the time of pure dreaming, that 
    is the dreams of sleep, is not inferior to the sum of the moments of reality, or, to be more precisely limiting, the moments of 
    waking) has still today been so grossly neglected. 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. It is because man, when he 
    ceases to sleep, is above all the plaything of his memory, and in its normal state memory takes pleasure in weakly retracing for 
    him the circumstances of the dream, in stripping it of any real importance, and in dismissing the only determinant from the point 
    where he thinks he has left it a few hours before: this firm hope, this concern. He is under the impression of continuing 
    something that is worthwhile. Thus the dream finds itself reduced to a mere parenthesis, as is the night. And, like the night, 
    dreams generally contribute little to furthering our understanding. This curious state of affairs seems to me to call for certain 

     1) Within the limits where they operate (or are thought to operate) dreams give every evidence of being continuous and show 
        signs of organization. Memory alone arrogates to itself the right to excerpt from dreams, to ignore the transitions, and to 
        depict for us rather a series of dreams than the dream itself. By the same token, at any given moment we have only a distinct 
        notion of realities, the coordination of which is a question of will.* (Account must be taken of the depth of the dream. For 
        the most part I retain only what I can glean from its most superficial layers. What I most enjoy contemplating 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 preceding day, dark foliage, stupid branches. In "reality," likewise, I prefer to fall.) What is worth noting 
        is that nothing allows us to presuppose a greater dissipation of the elements of which the dream is constituted. I am sorry 
        to have to speak about it according to a formula which in principle excludes the dream. When will we have sleeping logicians, 
        sleeping philosophers? I would like to sleep, in order to surrender myself to the dreamers, the way I surrender myself to 
        those who read me with eyes wide open; in order to stop imposing, in this realm, the conscious rhythm of my thought. Perhaps 
        my dream last night follows that of the night before, and will be continued the next night, with an exemplary strictness. 
        It's quite possible, as the saying goes. And since it has not been proved in the slightest that, in doing so, the "reality" 
        with which I am kept busy continues to exist 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 open to my repudiation? Why should I not expect from the sign of the dream more than I expect from a degree of 
        consciousness which is daily more acute? Can't the dream also be used in solving the fundamental questions of life? Are these 
        questions the same in one case as in the other and, in the dream, do these questions already exist? Is the dream any less 
        restrictive or punitive than the rest? I am growing old and, more than that reality to which I believe I subject myself, it 
        is perhaps the dream, the difference with which I treat the dream, which makes me grow old.

     2) Let me come back again to the waking state. I have no choice but to consider it a phenomenon of interference. Not only does 
        the mind display, in this state, a strange tendency to lose its bearings (as evidenced by the slips and mistakes the secrets 
        of which are just beginning to be revealed to us), but, what is more, it does not appear that, when the mind is functioning 
        normally, it really responds to anything but the suggestions which come to it from the depths of that dark night to which I 
        commend it. However conditioned it may be, its balance is relative. It scarcely dares express 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 impression on it. What 
        impression it would be hard pressed to say, by which it reveals the degree of its subjectivity, and nothing more. This idea, 
        this woman, disturb it, they tend to make it less severe. What they do is isolate the mind for a second from its solvent and 
        spirit it to heaven, as the beautiful precipitate it can be, that it is. When all else fails, it then calls upon chance, a 
        divinity even more obscure than the others to whom it ascribes all its aberrations. Who 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 precisely what links it to its 
        dream, binds it to those fundamental facts which, through its own fault, it has lost? And if things were different, what 
        might it be capable of? I would like to provide it with the key to this corridor.

     3) The mind of the man who dreams is fully satisfied by what happens to him. The agonizing question of possibility is no longer 
        pertinent. Kill, fly faster, love to your heart's content. And if you should die, are you not certain of reawaking among the 
        dead? Let yourself be carried along, events will not tolerate your interference. You are nameless. The ease of everything 
        is priceless.

        What 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 episodes so strange that they could confound me now as I write? And yet I can believe my eyes, my 
        ears; this great day has arrived, this beast has spoken.

        If man's awaking is harder, if it breaks the spell too abruptly, it is because he has been led to make for himself too 
        impoverished a notion of atonement.

     4) From the moment when it is subjected to a methodical examination, when, by means yet to be determined, we succeed in 
        recording the contents of dreams in their entirety (and that presupposes a discipline of memory spanning generations; but let 
        us nonetheless begin by noting the most salient facts), when its graph will expand with unparalleled volume and regularity, 
        we may hope 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 surreality, if 
        one may so speak. It is in quest 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 possession.

        A story is told according to which Saint-Pol-Roux?, in times gone by, used to have a notice posted on the door of his 
        manor house in Camaret, every evening before he went to sleep, which read: THE POET IS WORKING.

    A great deal more could be said, but in passing I merely wanted to touch upon a subject which in itself would require a very long 
    and much more detailed discussion; I shall come back to it. At this juncture, my intention was merely to mark a point by noting 
    the hate of the marvelous which rages in certain men, this absurdity beneath which they try to bury it. Let 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 capable of fecundating works which belong to an inferior category such as the 
    novel, and generally speaking, anything that involves storytelling. Lewis' The Monk is an admirable proof of this. It is 
    infused throughout with the presence of the marvelous. Long before the author has freed his main characters from all temporal 
    constraints, one feels them ready to act with an unprecedented pride. This passion 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 
    purest way imaginable, exercises an exalting effect only upon that part of the mind which aspires to leave the earth and that, 
    stripped of an insignificant part of its plot, which belongs to the period in which it was written, it constitutes a paragon of 
    precision and innocent grandeur.* (What 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 particular is the most moving 
    creation that one can credit to this figurative fashion in literature. She is less a character than a continual temptation. And 
    if a character is not a temptation, what is he? An extreme temptation, she. In The Monk the "nothing is impossible for him who 
    dares try" gives it its full, convincing measure. Ghosts play a logical role in the book, since the critical mind does not seize 
    them in order to dispute them. Ambrosio's punishment is likewise treated in a legitimate manner, since it is finally accepted by 
    the critical faculty as a natural denouement.

    It may seem arbitrary on my part, when discussing the marvelous, to choose this model, from which both the Nordic literatures 
    and Oriental literatures have borrowed time and time again, not to mention the religious literatures of every country. This is 
    because most of the examples which these literatures could have furnished me with are tainted by puerility, for the simple   
    reason that they are addressed to children. At 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. No 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. The fabric of adorable improbabilities must be made a trifle more subtle the older we grow, and we are 
    still at the age of waiting for this kind of spider.... But the faculties do not change radically. Fear, the attraction of the 
    unusual, chance, the taste for things extravagant are all devices which we can always call upon without fear of deception. There 
    are fairy tales to be written for adults, fairy tales still almost blue.

    The marvelous is not the same in every period of history: it partakes in some obscure way of a sort of general revelation only 
    the fragments of which come down to us: they are the romantic ruins, the modern mannequin, or any other symbol capable of 
    affecting the human sensibility for a period of time. In these areas which make us smile, there is still portrayed the incurable 
    human restlessness, and this is why I take them into consideration and why I judge them inseparable from certain productions of 
    genius which are, more than the others, painfully afflicted by them. They are Villon's gibbets, Racine's Greeks, Baudelaire's  
    couches. They coincide with an eclipse of the taste I am made to endure, I whose notion of taste is the image of a big spot. 
    Amid the bad taste of my time I strive to go further than anyone else. It would have been I, had I lived in 1820, I "the bleeding 
    nun," I who would not have spared this cunning and banal "let us conceal" whereof the parodical Cuisin speaks, it would have been 
    I, I who would have reveled in the enormous metaphors, as he says, all phases of the "silver disk." For today I think of a 
    castle, half of which is not necessarily in ruins; this castle belongs to me, I picture it in a rustic setting, not far from 
    Paris. The 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 viewpoint of comfort. Automobiles are parked before the door, concealed by the shade 
    of trees. A few of my friends are living here as permanent guests: there is Louis Aragon leaving; he only has time enough to 
    say hello;Philippe Soupault gets up with the stars, and Paul Eluard, our great Eluard, has not yet come home. 
    There are Robert Desnos and Roger Vitrac out on the grounds poring over an ancient edict on duelling; Georges Auric, 
    Jean Paulhan; Max Morise, who rows so well, and Benjamin Peret, busy with his equations with birds; and 
    Joseph Delteil; and Jean Carrive; and Georges Limbour, and Georges Limbours (there is a whole hedge of Georges 
    Limbours); and Marcel Noll; there is T. Fraenkel waving to us from his captive balloon, 
    Georges Malkine, Antonin Artaud, Francis Gerard, Pierre Naville, J.-A. Boiffard, and 
    after them Jacques Baron and his brother, handsome and cordial, and so many others besides, and gorgeous women, I might add. 
    Nothing is too good for these young men, their wishes are, as to wealth, so many commands. Francis Picabia comes to pay us a 
    call, and last week, in the hall of mirrors, we received a certain Marcel Duchamp whom we had not hitherto known. 
    Picasso goes hunting in the neighborhood. The spirit of demoralization has elected domicile in the castle, 
    and it is with it we have to deal every time it is a question of contact with our fellowmen, but the doors are always open, and 
    one does not begin by "thanking" everyone, you know. Moreover, the solitude is vast, we don't often run into one another. And 
    anyway, isn't what matters that we be the masters of ourselves, the masters of women, and of love too?

    I shall be proved guilty of poetic dishonesty: everyone will go parading about saying that I live on the rue Fontaine and that 
    he will have none of the water that flows therefrom. To be sure! But is he certain that this castle into which I cordially invite 
    him is an image? What if this castle really existed! My guests are there to prove it does; their whim is the luminous road that 
    leads to it. We really live by our fantasies when we give free reign to them. And how could what one might do bother the other, 
    there, safely sheltered from the sentimental pursuit and at the trysting place of opportunities?


    Man proposes and disposes. He and he alone can determine whether he is completely master of himself, that is, whether he  
    maintains the body of his desires, daily more formidable, in a state of anarchy. Poetry teaches him to. It bears within itself 
    the perfect compensation for the miseries we endure. It can also be an organizer, if ever, as the result of a less intimate 
    disappointment, we contemplate taking it seriously. The time is coming when it decrees the end of money and by itself will break 
    the bread of heaven for the earth! There will still be gatherings on the public squares, and movements you never dared hope 
    participate in. Farewell to absurd choices, the dreams of dark abyss, rivalries, the prolonged patience, the flight of the 
    seasons, the artificial order of ideas, the ramp of danger, time for everything! May you only take the trouble to practice 
    poetry. Is it not incumbent upon us, who are already living off it, to try and impose what we hold to be our case for further  

    It matters not whether there is a certain disproportion between this defense and the illustration that will follow it. It was a 
    question of going back to the sources of poetic imagination and, what is more, of remaining there. Not that I pretend to have 
    done so. It requires a great deal of fortitude to try to set up one's 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. Besides, one is never sure of 
    really being there. If one is going to all that trouble, one might as well stop off somewhere else. Be 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 travelers' 
    ability to endure.

    We 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 Robert Desnos 
    entitled Entre des Mediums* (See Les Pas perdus, published by N.R.F.) that I had been led to "concentrate my attention on 
    the more or less partial sentences which, when one is quite alone and on the verge of falling asleep, become perceptible for the 
    mind without its being possible to discover what provoked them." I had then just attempted the poetic adventure with the minimum 
    of risks, that is, my aspirations were the same as they are today but I trusted in the slowness of formulation to keep me from 
    useless contacts, contacts of which I completely disapproved. This attitude involved a modesty of thought certain vestiges of 
    which I still retain. At the end of my life, I shall doubtless manage to speak with great effort the way people speak, to 
    apologize for my voice and my few remaining gestures. The virtue of the spoken word (and the written word all the more so) seemed 
    to me to derive from the faculty of foreshortening in a striking manner the exposition (since there was exposition) of a small 
    number of facts, poetic or other, of which I made myself the substance. I had come to the conclusion that Rimbaud had not 
    proceeded any differently. I was composing, with a concern for variety that deserved better, the final poems of Mont de piété, 
    that is, I managed to extract from the blank lines of this book an incredible advantage. These lines were the closed eye to the 
    operations of thought that I believed I was obliged to keep hidden from the reader. It was not deceit on my part, but my love of 
    shocking the reader. I had the illusion of a possible complicity, which I had more and more difficulty giving up. I had begun to 
    cherish words excessively for the space they allow around them, for their tangencies with countless other words which I did not 
    utter. The poem Black Forest derives precisely from this state of mind. It took me six months to write it, and you may take 
    my word for it that I did not rest a single day. But this stemmed from the opinion I had of myself in those days, which was high, 
    please don't judge me too harshly. I enjoy these stupid confessions. At that point cubist pseudo-poetry was trying to get a 
    foothold, but it had emerged defenseless from Picasso's brain, and I was thought to be as dull as dishwater (and still am). I had 
    a sneaking suspicion, moreover, that from the viewpoint of poetry 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 Dada phenomena were waiting in the wings, ready to come on 
    stage) and pretending to search for an application of poetry 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, Pierre Reverdy, was writing:
    The image is a pure creation of the mind.
    It cannot be born from a comparison but from a juxtaposition of two more or less distant realities.
    The more the relationship between the two juxtaposed realities is distant and true, the stronger the image will be -- the 
    greater its emotional power and poetic reality...* (Nord-Sud, March 1918)

    These words, however sibylline for the uninitiated, were extremely revealing, and I pondered them for a long time. But the image 
    eluded me. Reverdy's aesthetic, a completely a posteriori aesthetic, led me to mistake the effects for the causes. It was in the 
    midst of all this that I renounced irrevocably my point of view.

   One evening, therefore, before I fell asleep, I perceived, so clearly articulated that it was impossible to change a word, but 
   nonetheless removed from the sound of any voice, a rather strange phrase which came to me without any apparent relationship to the 
   events in which, my consciousness agrees, I was then involved, a phrase which seemed to me insistent, a phrase, if I may be so 
   bold, which was knocking at the window. I took cursory note of it and prepared to move on when its organic character caught my 
   attention. Actually, this phrase astonished me: unfortunately I cannot remember it exactly, but it was something like: "There is a 
   man cut in two by the window," but there could be no question of ambiguity, accompanied as it was by the faint visual image* (Were 
   I a painter, this visual depiction would doubtless have become more important for me than the other. It was most certainly my 
   previous predispositions which decided the matter. Since that day, I have had occasion to concentrate my attention voluntarily on 
   similar apparitions, and I know they are fully as clear as auditory phenomena. With a pencil and white sheet of paper to hand, I 
   could easily trace their outlines. Here again it is not a matter of drawing, but simply of tracing. I could thus depict a tree, a 
   wave, a musical instrument, all manner of things of which I am presently incapable of providing even the roughest sketch. I would 
   plunge into it, convinced that I would find my way again, in a maze of lines which at first glance would seem to be going nowhere. 
   And, upon opening my eyes, I would get the very strong impression of something "never seen." The proof of what I am saying has 
   been provided many times by Robert Desnos: to be convinced, one has only to leaf through the pages of issue number 36 of 
   Feuilles libres which contains several of his drawings (Romeo and Juliet, A Man Died This Morning, etc.) which were taken by this 
   magazine as the drawings of a madman and published as such.) of a man walking cut half way up by a window perpendicular to the 
   axis of his body. Beyond the slightest shadow of a doubt, what I saw was the simple reconstruction in space of a man leaning out a 
   window. But this window having shifted with the man, I realized that I was dealing with an image of a fairly rare sort, and all I 
   could think of was to incorporate it into my material for poetic construction. No sooner had I granted it this capacity than it 
   was in fact succeeded by a whole series of phrases, with only brief pauses between them, which surprised me only slightly less and 
   left me with the impression of their being so gratuitous that the control I had then exercised upon myself seemed to me illusory 
   and all I could think of was putting an end to the interminable quarrel raging within me.* (Knut Hamsum [] ascribes this sort of 
   revelation to which I had been subjected as deriving from hunger, and he may not be wrong. (The fact is I did not eat every day 
   during that period of my life). Most certainly the manifestations that he describes in these terms are clearly the same:

   "The following day I awoke at an early hour. It was still dark. My eyes had been open for a long time when I heard the clock in 
   the apartment above strike five. I wanted to go back to sleep, but I couldn't; I was wide awake and a thousand thoughts were 
   crowding through my mind.

   "Suddenly a few good fragments came to mind, quite suitable to be used in a rough draft, or serialized; all of a sudden I found, 
   quite by chance, beautiful phrases, phrases such as I had never written. I repeated them to myself slowly, word by word; they were 
   excellent. And there were still more coming. I got up and picked up a pencil and some paper that were on a table behind my bed. It 
   was as though some vein had burst within me, one word followed another, found its proper place, adapted itself to the situation, 
   scene piled upon scene, the action unfolded, one retort after another welled up in my mind, I was enjoying myself immensely. 
   Thoughts came to me so rapidly and continued to flow so abundantly that I lost a whole host of delicate details, because my pencil 
   could not keep up with them, and yet I went as fast as I could, my hand in constant motion, I did not lose a minute. The sentences 
   continued to well up within me, I was pregnant with my subject."

   Apollinaire asserted that Chirico's first paintings were done under the influence of cenesthesic disorders (migraines, colics, etc).

   Completely occupied as I still was with Freud? at that time, and familiar as I was with his methods of examination which I had 
   some slight occasion to use on some patients during the war, I resolved to obtain from myself what we were trying to obtain from 
   them, namely, a monologue spoken as rapidly as possible without any intervention on the part of the critical faculties, a 
   monologue consequently unencumbered by the slightest inhibition and which was, as closely as possible, akin to spoken thought. It 
   had seemed to me, and still does -- the way in which the phrase about the man cut in two had come to me is an indication of it -- 
   that the speed of thought is no greater than the speed of speech, and that thought does not necessarily defy language, nor even 
   the fast-moving pen. It was in this frame of mind that Philippe Soupault -- to whom I had confided these initial conclusions – 
   and I decided to blacken some paper, with a praiseworthy disdain for what might result from a literary point of view. The ease of 
   execution did the rest. By the end of the first day we were able to read to ourselves some fifty or so pages obtained in this 
   manner, and begin to compare our results. All in all, Soupault's pages and mine proved to be remarkably similar: the same 
   overconstruction, shortcomings of a similar nature, but also, on both our parts, the illusion of an extraordinary verve, a great 
   deal of emotion, a considerable choice of images of a quality such that we would not have been capable of preparing a single one 
   in longhand, a very special picturesque quality and, here and there, a strong comical effect. The only difference between our two 
   texts seemed to me to derive essentially from our respective tempers. Soupault's 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 putting a few words by way of titles at 
   the top of certain pages, I suppose in a spirit of mystification. On the other hand, I must give credit where credit is due and 
   say that he constantly and vigorously opposed any effort to retouch or correct, however slightly, any passage 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 respect to myself, and this is too fair. Nonetheless, with this thought-writing, where one is at the mercy of the 
   first outside distraction, "ebullutions" can occur. It would be inexcusable for us to pretend otherwise. By definition, thought is 
   strong, and incapable of catching itself in error. The blame for these obvious weaknesses must be placed on suggestions that come 
   to it from without.) It is, in fact, difficult to appreciate fairly the various elements present: one may even go so far as to say 
   that it is impossible to appreciate them at a first reading. To you who write, these elements are, on the surface, as strange to 
   you as they are to anyone else, and naturally you are wary of them. Poetically speaking, what strikes you about them above all is 
   their extreme degree of immediate absurdity, the quality of this absurdity, upon closer scrutiny, being to give way to everything 
   admissible, everything legitimate in the world: the disclosure of a certain number of properties and of facts no less objective, 
   in the final analysis, than the others.


   In homage to Guillaume Apollinaire, who had just died and who, on several occasions, seemed to us to have followed a 
   discipline of this kind, without however having sacrificed to it any mediocre literary means, Soupault and I baptized the new mode 
   of pure expression which we had at our disposal and which we wished to pass on to our friends, by the name of SURREALISM. I 
   believe that there is no point today in dwelling any further on this word and that the meaning we gave it initially has generally  
   prevailed over its Apollinarian sense. To be even fairer, we could probably have taken over the word SUPERNATURALISM employed by 
   Gérard de Nerval [] in his dedication to the Filles de feu.* (And also by Thomas Carlyle []in Sartor Resartus ([Book III] 
   Chapter VIII, []
   "Natural Supernaturalism"), 1833-34.) It appears, in fact, that Nerval possessed to a tee the spirit with which we claim a 
   kinship, Apollinaire having possessed, on the contrary, naught but the letter, still imperfect, of Surrealism, having shown 
   himself powerless to give a valid theoretical idea of it. Here are two passages by Nerval which seem to me to be extremely 
   significant in this respect:

      I am going to explain to you, my dear Dumas, the phenomenon of which you have spoken a short while ago. There are, as you    
      know, certain storytellers who cannot invent without identifying with the characters their imagination has dreamt up. You may 
      recall how convincingly our old friend Nodier used to tell how it had been his misfortune during the Revolution to be 
      guillotined; one became so completely convinced of what he was saying that one began to wonder how he had managed to have his 
      head glued back on.

      ...And since you have been indiscreet enough to quote one of the sonnets composed in this SUPERNATURALISTIC dream-state, as the 
      Germans would call it, you will have to hear them all. You will find them at the end of the volume. They are hardly any more 
      obscure than Hegel's metaphysics or Swedenborg's MEMORABILIA, and would lose their charm if they were explained, if such were 
      possible; at least admit the worth of the expression....** (See also L'Idéoréalisme by Saint-Pol-Roux?).

   Those who might dispute our right to employ the term SURREALISM in the very special sense that we understand it are being 
   extremely dishonest, for there can be no doubt that this word had no currency before we came along. Therefore, I am defining it 
   once and for all:

   SURREALISM, n. Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express -- verbally, by means of the written word, 
     or in any other manner -- the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised 
     by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.

   ENCYCLOPEDIA. Philosophy. Surrealism is based on the belief in the superior reality of certain forms of previously neglected 
     associations, in the omnipotence of dream, in the disinterested play of thought. It tends to ruin once and for all all other    
     psychic mechanisms and to substitute itself for them in solving all the principal problems of life. 
     The following have performed acts of ABSOLUTE SURREALISM: 
     Messrs. Aragon, Baron, Boiffard, Breton, Carrive, Crevel, Delteil, Desnos, Eluard, Gérard,   
     Limbour, Malkine, Morise, Naville, Noll, Péret, Picon?, Soupault, Vitrac.

   They seem to be, up to the present time, the only ones, and there would be no ambiguity about it were it not for the case of 
   Isidore Ducasse, about whom I lack information. And, of course, if one is to judge them only superficially by their results, a 
   good number of poets could pass for Surrealists, beginning with Dante [] and, in his finer moments, Shakespeare []. 
   In the course of the various attempts I have made to reduce what is, by breach of trust, called genius, I have found nothing which 
   in the final analysis can be attributed to any other method than that.

   Young's Nights are Surrealist from one end to the other; unfortunately it is a priest who is speaking, a bad priest no doubt, 
   but a priest nonetheless.

   Swift? is Surrealist in malice,

   Sade is Surrealist in sadism.

   Chateaubriand is Surrealist in exoticism.

   Constant is Surrealist in politics.

   Hugo is Surrealist when he isn't stupid.

   Desbordes-Valmore is Surrealist in love.

   Bertrand is Surrealist in the past.

   Rabbe is Surrealist in death.

   Poe is Surrealist in adventure.

   Baudelaire is Surrealist in morality.

   Rimbaud is Surrealist in the way he lived, and elsewhere.

   Mallarmé is Surrealist when he is confiding.

   Jarry is Surrealist in absinthe.

   Nouveau is Surrealist in the kiss.

   Saint-Pol-Roux is Surrealist in his use of symbols.

   Fargue is Surrealist in the atmosphere.

   Vaché is Surrealist in me.

   Reverdy is Surrealist at home.

   Saint-Jean-Perse is Surrealist at a distance.

   Roussel is Surrealist as a storyteller.



   I would like to stress the point: they are not always Surrealists, in that I discern in each of them a certain number of 
   preconceived ideas to which -- very naively! -- they hold. They hold to them because they had not heard the Surrealist voice, the 
   one that continues to preach on the eve of death and above the storms, because they did not want to serve simply to orchestrate 
   the marvelous score. They were instruments too full of pride, and this is why they have not always produced a harmonious sound.* 
   (I could say the same of a number of philosophers and painters, including, among the latter, Uccello?, from painters of the past, 
   and, in the modern era, Seurat?, Gustave Moreau?, Matisse? (in "La Musique," for example), Derain, Picasso, (by far the most pure), 
   Braque, Duchamp, Picabia, Chirico (so admirable for so long), Klee, Man Ray, Max Ernst, and, one so close to us, Andre Masson).


   But we, who have made no effort whatsoever to filter, who in our works have made ourselves into simple receptacles of so many 
   echoes, modest recording instruments who are not mesmerized by the drawings we are making, perhaps we serve an even nobler cause. 
   Thus do we render with integrity the "talent" which has been lent to us. You might as well speak of the talent of this platinum 
   ruler, this mirror, this door, and of the sky, if you like.

   We do not have any talent; ask Philippe Soupault:
   "Anatomical products of manufacture and low-income dwellings will destroy the tallest cities."

   Ask Roger Vitrac:
   "No sooner had I called forth the marble-admiral than he turned on his heel like a horse which rears at the sight of the North 
   star and showed me, in the plane of his two-pointed cocked hat, a region where I was to spend my life."

   Ask Paul Eluard:
   "This is an oft-told tale that I tell, a famous poem that I reread: I am leaning against a wall, with my verdant ears and my lips 
   burned to a crisp."

   Ask Max Morise:
   "The bear of the caves and his friend the bittern, the vol-au-vent and his valet the wind, the Lord Chancellor with his Lady, the 
   scarecrow for sparrows and his accomplice the sparrow, the test tube and his daughter the needle, this carnivore and his brother 
   the carnival, the sweeper and his monocle, the Mississippi and its little dog, the coral and its jug of milk, the Miracle and its 
   Good Lord, might just as well go and disappear from the surface of the sea."

   Ask Joseph Delteil:
   "Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And a feather is all it takes to make me die laughing."

   Ask Louis Aragon:
   "During a short break in the party, as the players were gathering around a bowl of flaming punch, I asked a tree if it still 
   had its red ribbon."

   And ask me, who was unable to keep myself from writing the serpentine, distracting lines of this preface.

   Ask Robert Desnos, he who, more than any of us, has perhaps got closest to the Surrealist truth, he who, in his still unpublished 
   works* (Nouvelles Hebrides, Desordre Formel, Deuil Pour Deuil) and in the course of the numerous experiments he has been a 
   party to, has fully justified the hope I placed in Surrealism and leads me to believe that a great deal more will still come of 
   it. Desnos speaks Surrealist at will. His extraordinary agility in orally following his thought is worth as much to us as any 
   number of splendid speeches which are lost, Desnos having better things to do than record them. He reads himself like an open 
   book, and does nothing to retain the pages, which fly away in the windy wake of his life.

==Secrets of the Magical Surrealist Art==

   Written Surrealist composition or first and last draft
    After you have settled yourself in a place as favorable as possible to the concentration of your mind upon itself, have writing 
    materials brought to you. Put yourself in as passive, or receptive, a state of mind as you can. Forget about your genius, your 
    talents, and the talents of everyone else. Keep reminding yourself that literature is one of the saddest roads that leads to 
    everything. Write quickly, without any preconceived subject, fast enough so that you will not remember what you're writing and be 
    tempted to reread what you have written. The first sentence will come spontaneously, so compelling is the truth that with every 
    passing second there is a sentence unknown to our consciousness which is only crying out to be heard. It is somewhat of a problem 
    to form an opinion about the next sentence; it doubtless partakes both of our conscious activity and of the other, if one agrees 
    that the fact of having written the first entails a minimum of perception. This should be of no importance to you, however; to a 
    large extent, this is what is most interesting and intriguing about the Surrealist game. The fact still remains that punctuation 
    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. Go on as long as you like. Put your trust in the inexhaustible nature of the murmur. If 
    silence threatens to settle in if you should ever happen to make a mistake -- a mistake, perhaps due to carelessness -- break off 
    without hesitation with an overly clear line. Following a word the origin of which seems suspicious to you, place any letter 
    whatsoever, the letter "l" for example, always the letter "l," and bring the arbitrary back by making this letter the first of 
    the following word.

    How not to be bored any longer when with others
    This is very difficult. Don't be at home for anyone, and occasionally, when no one has forced his way in, interrupting you in the 
    midst of your Surrealist activity, and you, crossing your arms, say: "It doesn't matter, there are doubtless better things to do 
    or not do. Interest in life is indefensible Simplicity, what is going on inside me, is still tiresome to me!" or an other 
    revolting banality.

    To make speeches
    Just prior to the elections, in the first country which deems it worthwhile to proceed in this kind of public expression of 
    opinion, have yourself put on the ballot. Each of us has within himself the potential of an orator: multicolored loin cloths, 
    glass trinkets of words. Through Surrealism he will take despair unawares in its poverty. One night, on a stage, he will, by 
    himself, carve up the eternal heaven, that Peau de l'ours. He will promise so much that any promises he keeps will be a source of 
    wonder and dismay. In answer to the claims of an entire people he will give a partial and ludicrous vote. He will make the 
    bitterest enemies partake of a secret desire which will blow up the countries. And in this he will succeed simply by allowing 
    himself to be moved by the immense word which dissolves into pity and revolves in hate. Incapable of failure, he will play on the 
    velvet of all failures. He will be truly elected, and women will love him with an all-consuming passion.

    To write false novels
    Whoever you may be, if the spirit 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 "fair" at "action," and the 
    rest will follow naturally. Here are some characters rather different in appearance; their names in your handwriting are a 
    question of capital letters, and they will conduct themselves with the same ease with respect to active verbs as does the 
    impersonal pronoun "it" with respect to words such as "is raining," "is," "must," etc. They will command them, so to speak, and 
    wherever observation, reflection, and the faculty of generalization prove to be of no help to you, you may rest assured that they 
    will credit you with a thousand intentions you never had. Thus endowed with a tiny number of physical 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. Out of this will result a plot more or less clever in appearance, justifying point by 
    point this moving or comforting denouement about which you couldn't care less. Your false novel will simulate to a marvelous 
    degree a real novel; you will be rich, and everyone will agree that "you've really got a lot of guts," since it's also in this 
    region that this something is located.

    Of course, by an analogous method, and provided you ignore what you are reviewing, you can successfully devote yourself to false 
    literary criticism.

    How to catch the eye of a woman you pass in the street


==Against death==

    Surrealism will usher you into death, which is a secret society. It will glove your hand, burying therein the profound M with   
    which the word Memory begins. Do not forget to make proper arrangements for your last will and testament: speaking personally, I 
    ask that I be taken to the cemetery in a moving van. May my friends destroy every last copy of the printing of the Speech 
    concerning the Modicum of Reality.

“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ ==Language==

    Language has been given to man so that he may make Surrealist use of it. To the extent that he is required to make himself 
    understood, he manages more or less to express himself, and by so doing to fulfill certain functions culled from among the most 
    vulgar. Speaking, reading a letter, present no real problem for him, provided that, in so doing, he does not set himself a goal 
    above the mean, that is, provided he confines himself to carrying on a conversation (for the pleasure of conversing) with 
    someone. He is not worried about the words that are going to come, nor about the sentence which will follow after the sentence he 
    is just completing. To a very simple question, he will be capable of making a lightning-like reply. In the absence of minor tics 
    acquired through contact with others, he can without any ado offer an opinion on a limited number of subjects; for that he does 
    not need to "count up to ten" before speaking or to formulate anything whatever ahead of time. Who has been able to convince him 
    that this faculty of the first draft will only do him a disservice when he makes up his mind to establish more delicate 
    relationships? There is no subject about which he should refuse to talk, to write about prolifically. All that results from 
    listening to oneself, from reading what one has written, is the suspension of the occult, that admirable help. 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 
    disappointing, at least momentarily, I place my trust in the following sentence to redeem its sins; I carefully refrain from 
    starting it over again or polishing it. The only thing that might prove fatal to me would be the slightest loss of impetus. 
    Words, groups of words which follow one another, manifest among themselves the greatest solidarity. It is not up to me to favor 
    one group over the other. It is up to a miraculous equivalent to intervene -- and intervene it does.

    Not only does this unrestricted language, which I am trying to render forever valid, which seems to me to adapt itself to all of 
    life's circumstances, not only does this language not deprive me of any of my means, on the contrary it lends me an extraordinary 
    lucidity, and it does so in an area where I least expected it. I shall even go so far as to maintain that it instructs me and, 
    indeed, I have had occasion to use surreally words whose meaning I have forgotten. I was subsequently able to verify that the way 
    in which I had used them corresponded perfectly with their definition. This would leave one to believe that we do not "learn," 
    that all we ever do is "relearn." There are felicitous turns of speech that I have thus familiarized myself with. And I am not 
    talking about the poetic consciousness of objects which I have been able to acquire only after a spiritual contact with them 
    repeated a thousand times over.

    The forms of Surrealist language adapt themselves best to dialogue. Here, two thoughts confront each other; while one is being 
    delivered, the other is busy with it; but how is it busy with it? To assume that it incorporates it within itself would be 
    tantamount to admitting that there is a time during which it is possible for it to live completely off that other thought, which 
    is highly unlikely. And, in fact, the attention it pays is completely exterior; it has only time enough to approve or reject -- 
    generally reject -- with all the consideration of which man is capable. This mode of language, moreover, does not allow the heart 
    of the matter to be plumbed. My attention, prey to an entreaty which it cannot in all decency reject, treats the opposing thought 
    as an enemy; in ordinary conversation, it "takes it up" almost always on the words, the figures of speech, it employs; it puts me 
    in a position to turn it to good advantage in my reply by distorting them. This is true to such a degree that in certain 
    pathological states of mind, where the sensorial disorders occupy the patient's complete attention, he limits himself, while 
    continuing to answer the questions, to seizing the last word spoken in his presence or the last portion of the Surrealist 
    sentence some trace of which he finds in his mind.

    Q. "How old are you?" A. "You." (Echolalia.)
    Q. "What is your name?" A. "Forty-five houses." (Ganser syndrome, or beside-the-point replies.)

    There is no conversation in which some trace of this disorder does not occur. The effort to be social which dictates it and the 
    considerable practice we have at it are the only things which enable us to conceal it temporarily. 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 exchange. 
    Because, through his replies, he obtrudes upon the attention of the doctor examining him -- and because he is not the person 
    asking the questions. Does this mean that his thought at this point is stronger? Perhaps. He is free not to care any longer about 
    his age or name.

    Poetic Surrealism, which is the subject of this study, has focused its efforts up to this point on reestablishing dialogue in its 
    absolute truth, by freeing both interlocutors from any obligations and politeness. Each of them simply pursues his soliloquy 
    without trying to derive any special dialectical pleasure from it and without trying to impose anything whatsoever upon his 
    neighbor. The remarks exchanged are not, as is generally the case, meant to develop some thesis, however unimportant it may be; 
    they are as disaffected as possible. As for the reply that they elicit, it is, in principle, totally indifferent to the personal 
    pride of the person speaking. The words, the images are only so many springboards for the mind of the listener. In ''Les Champs 
    magnétiques'', the first purely Surrealist work, this is the way in which the pages grouped together under the title Barrières must 
    be conceived of -- pages wherein Soupault and I show ourselves to be impartial interlocutors.

    Surrealism does not allow those who devote themselves to it to forsake it whenever they like. There 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 push man to frightful 
    revolts. It also is, if you like, an artificial paradise, and the taste one has for it derives from Baudelaire's criticism for 
    the same reason as the others. Thus the analysis of the mysterious effects and special pleasures it can produce -- in many 
    respects Surrealism occurs as a new vice which does not necessarily seem to be restricted to the happy few; like hashish, it has 
    the ability to satisfy all manner of tastes -- such an analysis has to be included in the present study.

       1. It is true of Surrealist images as it is of opium images that man does not evoke them; rather they "come to him 
          spontaneously, despotically. He cannot chase them away; for the will is powerless now and no longer controls the 
          faculties.* (Baudelaire). It remains to be seen whether images have ever been "evoked." If one accepts, as I do, Reverdy's 
          definition it does not seem possible to bring together, voluntarily, what he calls "two distant realities." The 
          juxtaposition is made or not made, and that is the long and the short of it. Personally, I absolutely refuse to believe 
          that, in Reverdy?'s work, images such as
                                     In the brook, there is a song that flows
                                     Day unfolded like a white tablecloth
                                     The world goes back into a sack
          reveal the slightest degree of premeditation. In my opinion, it is erroneous to claim that "the mind has grasped the 
          relationship" of two realities in the presence of each other. First of all, it has seized nothing consciously. It is, as it 
          were, from the fortuitous juxtaposition of the two terms that a particular light has sprung, the light of the image, to 
          which we are infinitely sensitive. The value of the image depends upon the beauty of the spark obtained; it is, 
          consequently, a function of the difference of potential between the two conductors. When the difference exists only 
          slightly, as in a comparison,* (Compare the image in the work of Jules Renard []) the spark is lacking. Now, it is not 
          within man's power, so far as I can tell, to effect the juxtaposition of two realities so far apart. The principle of the 
          association of ideas, such as we conceive of it, militates against it. Or else we would have to revert to an elliptical 
          art, which Reverdy? deplores as much as I. We are therefore obliged to admit that the two terms of the image are not deduced 
          one from the other by the mind for the specific purpose of producing the spark, that they are the simultaneous products of 
          the activity I call Surrealist, reason's role being limited to taking note of, and appreciating, the luminous phenomenon.

    And just as the length of the spark increases to the extent that it occurs in rarefied gases, the Surrealist atmosphere   
    created by automatic writing, which I have wanted to put within the reach of everyone, is especially conducive to the production 
    of the most beautiful images. One can even go so far as to say that in this dizzying race the images appear like the only 
    guideposts of the mind. By slow degrees the mind becomes convinced of the supreme reality of these images. At first limiting 
    itself to submitting to them, it soon realizes that they flatter its reason, and increase its knowledge accordingly. The mind 
    becomes aware of the limitless expanses wherein its desires are made manifest, where the pros and cons are constantly consumed, 
    where its obscurity does not betray it. It goes forward, borne by these images which enrapture it, which scarcely leave it any 
    time to blow upon the fire in its fingers. This is the most beautiful night of all, the lightning-filled night: day, compared to 
    it, is night.

    The countless kinds of Surrealist images would require a classification which I do not intend to make today. To group them 
    according to their particular affinities would lead me far afield; what I basically want to mention is their common virtue. For 
    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 practical language, either because it contains an immense amount of seeming contradiction or because one 
    of its terms is strangely concealed; or because, presenting itself as something sensational, it seems to end weakly (because it 
    suddenly closes the angle of its compass), or because it derives from itself a ridiculous formal 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 opposite, or because 
    it implies the negation of some elementary physical property, or because it provokes laughter. 
    Here, in order, are a few examples of it:
        The ruby of champagne. (Lautreamont)
        Beautiful as the law of arrested development of the breast in adults, whose propensity to growth is not in proportion to the 
          quantity of molecules that their organism assimilates. (Lautreamont)
        A church stood dazzling as a bell. (Philippe Soupault)
        In Rrose Sélavy's sleep there is a dwarf issued from a well who comes to eat her bread at night. (Robert Desnos)
        On the bridge the dew with the head of a tabby cat lulls itself to sleep. (Andre Breton)
        A little to the left, in my firmament foretold, I see -- but it's doubtless but a mist of blood and murder -- the gleaming 
          glass of liberty's disturbances. (Louis Aragon)
        In the forest aflame, The lions were fresh. (Robert Vitrac?)
        The color of a woman's stockings is not necessarily in the likeness of her eyes, which led a philosopher who it is pointless 
          to mention, to say: "Cephalopods have more reasons to hate progress than do quadrupeds." (Max Morise)

    1st. Whether we like it or not, there is enough there to satisfy several demands of the mind. All these images seem to attest to 
       the fact that the mind is ripe for something more than the benign joys it allows itself in general. This is the only way it 
       has of turning to its own advantage the ideal quantity of events with which it is entrusted.* (Let us no forget that, 
       according to Novalis' formula, "there are series of events which run parallel to real events. Men and circumstances generally 
       modify the ideal train of circumstances, so that is seems imperfect; and their consequences are also equally imperfect. Thus 
       it was with the Reformation; instead of Protestantism, we got Lutheranism.") These images show it the extent of its ordinary 
       dissipation and the drawbacks that it offers for it. In the final analysis, it's not such a bad thing for these images to 
       upset the mind, for to upset the mind is to put it in the wrong. The sentences I quote make ample provision for this. But the 
       mind which relishes them draws therefrom the conviction that it is on the right track; on its own, the mind is incapable of 
       finding itself guilty of cavil; it has nothing to fear, since, moreover, it attempts to embrace everything.

    2nd. The mind which plunges into Surrealism relives with glowing excitement the best part of its childhood. For such a mind, it 
       is similar to the certainty with which a person who is drowning reviews once more, in the space of less than a second, all the 
       insurmountable moments of his life. Some may say to me that the parallel is not very encouraging. But I have no intention of 
       encouraging those who tell me that. From childhood memories, and from a few others, there emanates a sentiment of being 
       unintegrated, and then later of having gone astray, which I hold to be the most fertile that exists. It is perhaps childhood 
       that comes closest to one's "real life"; childhood beyond which man has at his disposal, aside from his laissez-passer, only a 
       few complimentary tickets; childhood where everything nevertheless conspires to bring about the effective, risk-free 
       possession of oneself. Thanks to Surrealism, it seems that opportunity knocks a second time. It is as though we were still 
       running toward our salvation, or our perdition. In the shadow we again see a precious terror. Thank God, it's still only 
       Purgatory. With a shudder, we cross what the occultists call dangerous territory. In my wake I raise up monsters that are 
       lying in wait; they are not yet too ill-disposed toward me, and I am not lost, since I fear them. Here are "the elephants with 
       the heads of women and the flying lions" which used to make Soupault and me tremble in our boots to meet, here is the "soluble 
       fish" which still frightens me slightly. POISSON SOLUBLE, am I not the soluble fish, I was born under the sign of Pisces, and 
       man is soluble in his thought! The flora and fauna of Surrealism are inadmissible.

    3rd. I do not believe in the establishment of a conventional Surrealist pattern any time in the near future. The characteristics 
       common to all the texts 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 preclude a certain evolution of Surrealist prose in time. Coming on the 
       heels of a large number of essays I have written in this vein over the past five years, most of which I am indulgent enough to 
       think are extremely disordered, the short anecdotes which comprise the balance of this volume offer me a glaring proof of what 
       I am saying. I do not judge them to be any more worthless, because of that, in portraying for the reader the benefits which 
       the Surrealist contribution is liable to make to his consciousness.

   Surrealist methods would, moreover, demand to beheard. Everything is valid when it comes to obtaining the desired suddenness from 
   certain associations. The pieces of paper that Picasso and Braque insert into their work have the same value as the introduction 
   of a platitude into a literary analysis of the most rigorous sort. It is even permissible to entitle POEM what we get from the 
   most random assemblage possible (observe, if you will, the syntax) of headlines and scraps of headlines cut out of the newspapers:


       A burst of laughter
       of sapphire in the island of Ceylon
       The most beautiful straws
       on an isolated farm
       the pleasant
       grows worse
       preaches for its saint
       a pair
       of silk stockings
       is not
       A leap into space
       A STAG
       Love above all
       Everything could be worked out so well
       Watch out for
       the fire that covers
       of fair weather
       Know that
       The ultraviolet rays
       have finished their task
       short and sweet
       OF CHANCE
       Red will be
       The wandering singer
       WHERE IS HE?
       in memory
       in his house
       I do
       as I dance
       What people did, what they’re going to do


  And we could offer many many more examples. The theater, philosophy, science, criticism would all succeed in finding their bearings 
  there. I hasten to add that future Surrealist techniques do not interest me.

  Far more serious, in my opinion* (Whatever reservations I may be allowed to make concerning responsibility in general and the 
  medico-legal considerations which determine an individual's degree of responsibility -- complete responsibility, irresponsibility, 
  limited responsibility (sic) -- however difficult it may be for me to accept the principle of any kind of responsibility, I would 
  like to know how the first punishable offenses, the Surrealist character of which will be clearly apparent, will be judged. Will the 
  accused be acquitted, or will he merely be given the benefit of the doubt because of extenuating circumstances? It's a shame that the 
  violation of the laws governing the Press is today scarcely repressed, for if it were not we would soon see a trial of this sort: the 
  accused has published a book which is an outrage to public decency. Several of his "most respected and honorable" fellow citizens 
  have lodged a complaint against him, and he is also charged with slander and libel. There are also all sorts of other charges against 
  him, such as insulting and defaming the army, inciting to murder, rape, etc. The accused, moreover, wastes no time in agreeing with 
  the accusers in "stigmatizing" most of the ideas expressed. His 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 precludes any question of merit or lack of 
  merit on the part of the person who signs it; further, that all he has done is copy a document without offering any opinion thereon, 
  and that he is at least as foreign to the accused text as is the presiding judge himself.

  What is true for the publication of a book will also hold true for a whole host of other acts as soon as Surrealist methods begin to 
  enjoy widespread favor. When that happens, a new morality must be substituted for the prevailing morality, the source of all our 
  trials and tribulations.) -- I have intimated it often enough -- are the applications of Surrealism to action. To be sure, I do not 
  believe in the prophetic nature of the Surrealist word. "It is the oracle, the things I say."* (Rimbaud.) Yes, as much as I like, but 
  what of the oracle itself?** (Still, STILL.... We must absolutely get to the bottom of this. Today, June 8, 1924, about one o'clock, 
  the voice whispered to me: "Béthune, Béthune." What did it mean? I have never been to Béthune, and have only the vaguest notion as to 
  where it is located on the map of France. Béthune evokes nothing for me, not even a scene from The Three Musketeers. I should have 
  left for Béthune, where perhaps there was something awaiting me; that would have been to simple, really. Someone told me they had 
  read in a book by Chesterton about a detective who, in order to find someone he is looking for in a certain city, simply scoured from 
  roof to cellar the houses which, from the outside, seemed somehow abnormal to him, were it only in some slight detail. This system is 
  as good as any other.

  Similarly, in 1919, Soupault went into any number of impossible buildings to ask the concierge whether Philippe Soupault did in fact 
  live there. He would not have been surprised, I suspect, by an affirmative reply. He would have gone and knocked on his door.) Men's 
  piety does not fool me. The Surrealist voice that shook Cumae, Dodona, and Delphi is nothing more than the voice which dictates my 
  less irascible speeches to me. My time must not be its time, why should this voice help me resolve the childish problem of my 
  destiny? I pretend, 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 interpreters, one to translate its judgements for me, the other, impossible to find, to transmit to my fellow 
  men whatever sense I could make out of them. This 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 it? Perhaps the Surrealist voice will be stilled, I have given up trying to keep track of 
  those who have disappeared. I shall no longer enter into, however briefly, the marvelous detailed description of my years and my 
  days. I shall be like Nijinski who was taken last year to the Russian ballet and did not realize what spectacle it was he was seeing. 
  I shall be alone, very alone within myself, indifferent to all the world’s ballets. What I have done, what I have left undone, I give 
  it to you.

  And ever since I have had a great desire to show forbearance to scientific musing, however unbecoming, in the final analysis, from 
  every point of view. Radios? Fine. Syphilis? If you like. Photography? I don’t see any reason why not. The cinema? Three cheers for 
  darkened rooms. War? Gave us a good laugh. The telephone? Hello. Youth? Charming white hair. Try to make me say thank you: "Thank 
  you." Thank you. If the common man has a high opinion of things which properly speaking 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. He is quite sure that they have been trying to improve his lot. I am not quite sure to what extent 
  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 vulgarizers and popularizers of all sorts who take out patents. 
  In this realm as in any other, I believe in the pure Surrealist joy of the man who, forewarned that all others before him have 
  failed, refuses to admit defeat, sets off from whatever point he chooses, along any other path save a reasonable one, and arrives 
  wherever he can. Such and such an image, by which he deems it opportune to indicate his progress and which may result, perhaps, in 
  his receiving public acclaim, is to me, I must confess, a matter of complete indifference. Nor is the material with which he must 
  perforce encumber himself; his glass tubes or my metallic feathers… As for his method, I am willing to give it as much credit as I do 
  mine. I have seen the inventor of the cutaneous plantar reflex at work; he manipulated his subjects without respite, it was much more 
  than an "examination" he was employing; it was obvious that he was following no set plan. Here and there he formulated a remark, 
  distantly, without nonetheless setting down his needle, while his hammer was never still. He left to others the futile task of curing 
  patients. He was wholly consumed by and devoted to that sacred fever.

  Surrealism, such as I conceive of it, asserts our complete nonconformism clearly enough so that there can be no question 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 
  complete state of distraction which we hope to achieve here below. Kant’s absentmindedness regarding women, Pasteur’s 
  absentmindedness about "grapes," Curie’s absentmindedness with respect to vehicles, are in this regard profoundly symptomatic. This 
  world is only very relatively in tune with thought, and incidents of this kind are only the most obvious episodes of a war in which I 
  am proud to be participating. "Ce monde n’est que très relativement à la mesure de la pensée et les incidents de ce genre ne sont que 
  les épisodes jusqu’ici les plus marquants d’une guerre d’indépendence à laquelle je me fais gloire de participer." Surrealism is the 
  "invisible ray" which will one day enable us to win out over our opponents. "You are no longer trembling, carcass." This summer the 
  roses are blue; the wood is of glass. The earth, draped in its verdant cloak, makes as little impression upon me as a ghost. It is 
  living and ceasing to live which are imaginary solutions. Existence is elsewhere.


 Paul Valery, Dostoevski?, Freud?, Saint-Pol-Roux?, Baudelaire, Guillaume Apollinaire, Pierre Reverdy
 Isidore Ducasse
 Edward Young, Nights are Surrealist from one end to the other; unfortunately it is a priest who is speaking, a bad priest no  
    doubt, but a priest nonetheless
 Swift?, Surrealist in malice
 de Sade Surrealist in sadism.
   Chateaubriand? Surrealist in exoticism
   Constant? is Surrealist in politics.
   Hugo? is Surrealist when he isn't stupid.
   Desbordes-Valmore? is Surrealist in love.
   Bertrand? is Surrealist in the past.
   Rabbe? is Surrealist in death.
   Poe Surrealist in adventure. 
   Baudelaire Surrealist in morality
   Rimbaud Surrealist in the way he lived, and elsewhere
   Mallarme is Surrealist when he is confiding.
   Jarry? is Surrealist in absinthe.
   Nouveau? is Surrealist in the kiss.
   Saint-Pol-Roux? is Surrealist in his use of symbols.
   Fargue? is Surrealist in the atmosphere.
   Vaché is Surrealist in me.
   Reverdy? is Surrealist at home.
   Saint-Jean-Perse? is Surrealist at a distance.
   Roussel? is Surrealist as a storyteller.


  and close associates
  Philippe Soupault;Paul Eluard, Robert Desnos, Roger Vitrac, Georges Auric, Jean Paulhan; Max Morise,  
  Benjamin Peret, Joseph Delteil, Jean Carrive, Georges Limbour, Marcel Noll; there is Theodor Fraenkel
  Georges Malkine, Antonin Artaud, Francis Gerard, Pierre Naville, Jacques-Andre Boiffard, Jacques Baron 
  (and his brother); Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp,Picasso

 Georges Seurat?, Gustave Moreau?, Henri Matisse (in "La Musique," for example), Andre Derain, 
 Pablo Picasso, (by far the most pure), Georges Braque, Giorgio de Chirico (so admirable for so long), 
 Paul Klee, Man Ray, Max Ernst, Andre Masson.)