What Is Surrealism Essay Research Paper At

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What Is Surrealism? Essay, Research Paper At the beginning of the war of 1870 the author of the Chants de Maldororand of Po sies, Isidore Ducasse, better known by the name of Comte de Lautr amont, whose thoughts had been of the very greatest help and encouragement to many surrealists, made the following remark; “At the hour in which I write, new tremors are running through the intellectual atmosphere; it is only a matter of having the courage to face them.” Many of you, no doubt, would put this down to a certain youthful exaltation and to the general savagery of the time; I must, however, insist on this attitude, common to particular men and manifesting itself at periods nearly half a century distant from one another. I should affirm that in ignorance of this attitude one

can form no idea of what surrealism really stands for. This attitude alone can account, and very sufficiently at that, for all the excesses that may be attributed to us but which cannot be deplored unless one gratuitously supposes that we could have started from any other point. The ill-sounding remarks, that are imputed to us, the so-called inconsiderate attacks, the insults, the quarrels, the scandals – all things that we are so much reproached with – turned upon the same road as the surrealist poems. From the very beginning, the surrealist attitude has had that in common with Lautr amont and Rimbaud which once and for all binds our lot to theirs, and that is wartime defeatism. I am not afraid to say that this defeatism seems to be more relevant than ever. They are, in

fact, always running through the intellectual atmosphere: the problem of their propagation and interpretation remains the same and, as far as we are concerned, remains to be solved. At the hour in which I speak, old and mortal shivers are trying to substitute themselves for those, which are the very shivers of knowledge and of life. They come to announce a frightful disease, a disease followed by the deprivation of all rights; it is only a matter of having the courage to face them also. This disease is called fascism. Affirming that today, more than ever before, the liberation of the mind, demands as primary condition, in the opinion of the surrealists, the express aim of surrealism, the liberation of man, which implies that we must struggle with our fetters with all the energy

of despair; that today more than ever before the surrealists entirely rely for the bringing about of the liberation of man upon the proletarian Revolution. A certain immediate ambiguity contained in the word surrealism, is, in fact, capable of leading one to suppose that it designates I know not what transcendental attitude, while, on the contrary it expresses – and always has expressed for us- a desire to deepen the foundations of the real, to bring about an even clearer and at the same time ever more passionate consciousness of the world perceived by the senses. The whole evolution of surrealism, from its origins to the present day, which I am about to retrace, shows that our unceasing wish, growing more and more urgent from day to day, has been at all costs to avoid

considering a system of thought as a refuge, to pursue our investigations with eyes wide open to their outside consequences, and to assure ourselves that the results of these investigations would be capable of facing the breath of the street. At the limits, for many years past – or more exactly, since the conclusion of what one may term the purely intuitive epoch of surrealism at the limits, I say, we have attempted to present interior reality and exterior reality as two elements in process of unification, or finally becoming one. This final unification is the supreme aim of surrealism: Interior reality and exterior reality being, in the present form of society, in contradiction (and in this contradiction we see the very cause of man’s unhappiness, but also the source of his