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Andre Breton

(19 February 1896 – 28 September 1966 / Normandy)

Quotations

  • ''Nothing retains less of desire in art, in science, than this will to industry, booty, possession.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Mad Love, ch. 3 (1937, trans. 1987).
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  • ''The work of art, just like any fragment of human life considered in its deepest meaning, seems to me devoid of value if it does not offer the hardness, the rigidity, the regularity, the luster on every interior and exterior facet, of the crystal.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Mad Love, ch. 1 (1937, trans. 1987).
  • ''It is living and ceasing to live that are imaginary solutions. Existence is elsewhere.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French Surrealist. repr. In Manifestoes of Surrealism (1969). Manifesto of Surrealism (1924).
  • ''Perhaps I am doomed to retrace my steps under the illusion that I am exploring, doomed to try and learn what I should simply recognize, learning a mere fraction of what I have forgotten.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Nadja (1928).
  • ''Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or will not be at all.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Nadja (1928).
  • ''Everything tends to make us believe that there exists a certain point of the mind at which life and death, the real and the imagined, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable, high and low, cease to be perceived as contradictions.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. repr. In Manifestos of Surrealism (1969). "Second Manifesto of Surrealism," (1930).
  • ''If I place love above everything, it is because for me it is the most desperate, the most despairing state of affairs imaginable.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French Surrealist. Taped discussions, March 3, 1928, published in Recherches sur la Sexualité, January 1928-August 1932. "Sixth Session," ed. José Pierre (1990).
  • ''It is impossible for me to envisage a picture as being other than a window, and ... my first concern is then to know what it looks out on.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Surrealism and Painting (1928).
  • ''There is nothing with which it is so dangerous to take liberties as liberty itself.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Surrealism and Painting (1928).
  • ''What one hides is worth neither more nor less than what one finds. And what one hides from oneself is worth neither more nor less than what one allows others to find.''
    André Breton (1896-1966), French surrealist. Surrealism and Painting (1928).

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Freedom of Love

(Translated from the French by Edouard Rodti)

My wife with the hair of a wood fire
With the thoughts of heat lightning
With the waist of an hourglass
With the waist of an otter in the teeth of a tiger
My wife with the lips of a cockade and of a bunch of stars of the last magnitude
With the teeth of tracks of white mice on the white earth
With the tongue of rubbed amber and glass

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