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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 462

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.

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In the above quote Breton attacks the constraints of realism and rationalism, wanting to reclaim imagination. Like the modernists in England, such as Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, Breton wants to move away from factual description in writing to a more subjective form of literature, one that includes the unconscious and the fantastic.

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.

Dreams and Freudianism are key to surrealism, with its emphasis on the unconscious. The above quote shows how Breton hopes to flip a hierarchy that privileges the waking and the conscious over 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.

The above quote continues to develop the importance of dreaming. Breton values getting beyond or transcending the limits of conscious thought.

SURREALISM, n. Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to...

(The entire section contains 462 words.)

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