1. How does Breton develop the philosophy of Surrealism in his written work?
The French philosopher Andre Breton (1896-1966) can be said to be the pioneer of the Surrealist movement, originating as the accepted descendant of “Dadaism”. “Dadaism” was the powerful rebellion of artists who rose up in opposition of conventional Western culture, art and life. This mutiny regularly took the form of open public expression and confrontational demonstrations. These radicals took issue with the conventional methods of artistic expression and appearance, subsequently reaching their influential pinnacle with Hans Arp's sculpting, Max Ernst's collage and Marcel Duchamp's ready-mades (a manufactured object being elevated to art status). However “Dadaism” was effectively a movement which turned out to be detrimental to those hopeful’s surviving in the realistic, troubled times of the post World War One period. These hopes were to be satisfied and nurtured by the Surrealist movement. It seems that the movement’s big break as it were was in 1924: a publication was started (La revolution Surrealiste), and in the same year Breton released the first edition of his Manifesto. Breton ultimately released the Second Manifesto (1930), which contained a far more harsh approach to Surrealism. Surrealist thought migrated to places, factions and philosophers’ around the globe, especially in Belgium, England, Switzerland and parts of Eastern Europe.
Breton’s definition of Surrealism on p26 of his first Manifesto of Surrealism is as follows:
“Surrealism is based on the beliefs in the superior reality of certain forms of previous neglected associations, in the omnipotence of dream, in the disinterested play of thought. It tends to ruin once and for all other psychic mechanisms and to substitute itself for them in solving all the principle problems of life”.
One must consider that most explanations of Surrealism are inevitably misleading. The concept of Surrealism cannot be defined by a...