Manifesto of Surrealism Additional Summary

André Breton


(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Alquié, Ferdinand. The Philosophy of Surrealism. Translated by Bernard Waldrop. 1965. Reprint. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1969. Alquié examines the ideological origins and content of Breton’s ideas and those of other Surrealist writers. Chapters 3 and 4 deal in great part with Breton’s manifestos and how their ideas relate particularly to poetry.

Balakian, Anna. André Breton: Magus of Surrealism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1971. Balakian’s biography devotes a long section to Breton’s two Surrealist manifestos. Equally thorough studies of Breton’s other writings are here as well, along with an entire chapter on Surrealism and painting.

_______. Surrealism: The Road to the Absolute. 3d ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. Balakian traces the development of Surrealism and considers its application to the visual arts. Even more interesting perhaps is that the author sees a relationship between Surrealism and the hypotheses of nuclear physics. Includes an updated introduction.

Caws, Mary Ann. André Breton. New York: Twayne, 1996. In this updated edition, originally published in 1974, Caws focuses on newer aspects of Breton’s work and adopts another point of view. Focuses on Breton’s texts, including his manifestos, and not on his life or the history of Surrealism, although it includes a brief introduction to the basic tenets of Surrealism.

Charvet, P. E., ed. The Twentieth Century, 1870-1940. Vol. 5 in A Literary History of France. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1967. Part 2, chapter 10 of this history focuses on Surrealism and poetry, beginning with the transition from Dada to Surrealism and Breton’s manifesto of 1924. This section includes a brief but pointed reference to Sigmund Freud and Surrealism.

Cruickshank, John, ed. The Twentieth Century. Vol. 6 in French Literature and Its Background. New York: Oxford University Press, 1970. Includes a chapter on Surrealism by R. Short, which is especially good on the historical and literary background of the movement. The volume also includes an extensive bibliography on Breton and Surrealism.

Durozoi, Gérard. History of the Surrealist Movement. Translated by Alison Anderson. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. Durozoi, a French philosopher and art critic, provides a voluminous history of Surrealist art and literature, heavily illustrated and spanning the movement’s global reach. The book looks at Breton’s life and his participation in and influence on the movement. Chapter 2 focuses on the publication and contents of the Manifesto of Surrealism.