Modern History Sourcebook:
A Surrealist Manifesto:
The Declaration of January 27, 1925
With regard to a false interpretation of our enterprise, stupidly
circulated among the public, We declare as follows to the entire
braying literary, dramatic, philosophical, exegetical and even
theological body of contemporary criticism:
- We have nothing to do with literature; But we are quite capable,
when necessary, of making use of it like anyone else,
- Surrealism is not a new means or expression, or an easier
one, nor even a metaphysic of poetry. It is a means of total liberation
of the mind and of all that resembles it.
- We are determined to make a Revolution.
- We have joined the word surrealism to the word revolution
solely to show the disinterested, detached, and even entirely
desperate character of this revolution.
- We make no claim to change the mores of mankind, but we intend
to show the fragility of thought, and on what shifting foundations,
what caverns we have built our trembling houses.
- We hurl this formal warning to Society; Beware of your deviations
and faux-pas, we shall not miss a single one.
- At each turn of its thought, Society will find us waiting.
- We are specialists in Revolt. There is no means of action
which we are not capable, when necessary, of employing.
- We say in particular to the Western world: surrealism exists.
And what is this new ism that is fastened to us? Surrealism is
not a poetic form. It is a cry of the mind turning back on itself,
and it is determined to break apart its fetters, even if it must
be by material hammers!
Bureaus de Recherches Surréalistes,
15, Rue de Grenelle
Signed: Louis Aragon, Antonin Artaud, Jacques Baron, Joë
Bousquet, J.-A. Boiffard, André Breton, Jean Carrive, René
Crevel, Robert Desnos, Paul Élaurd, Max Ernst, et al.
Source: Maurice Nadeau, The History of Surrealism, Cambridge:
Belknap Press, 1989, pp.240-41.
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(c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997