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Manifestoes of Surrealism (Ann Arbor Paperbacks)

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0472061822
ISBN-10: 0472061828
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mark Polizzotti is the author of "Revolution of the Mind: The Life of Andre Breton ("1995), "Lautreamont Nomad "(1994), "The New Life: Poems "(1998), and "S: a novel "(1997). He has translated the work of Andre Breton, Rene Daumal, Jean Echenoz, and Marguerite Duras, among others.

Richard Seaver was an editor, publisher, and translator who became legendary for championing unconventional writers in the face of censorship and cultural prudishness. He was the editor in chief of Grove Press in the 1960s, started his own imprint at Viking in 1971, and served as publisher of Holt, Rinehart & Winston until he founded Arcade Publishing in 1988, which he ran with his wife, Jeannette, until his death in 2009. He was the author of" The Tender Hour of Twilight: Paris in the '50s, New York in the '60s: A Memoir of Publishing's Golden Age".
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Product Details

  • Series: Ann Arbor Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press (1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472061828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472061822
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Manifestoes of Surrealism" is an extraordinary book that defines the timeless vitality of the Surrealist spirit. Speaking as a supreme oracle of Surrealist enlightenment, Breton gives us the keys to freedom from the limitations of reason, morality and aesthetic concerns. He instructs us on how to become a total Surrealist that no censorship or logic will ever stop. The texts in this volume take us into a realm where all taboos become taboo, where it is forbidden to forbid. Surrealism is defined not merely as a literary, artistic or philosophical movement, but as an explosion of the social order and a transformation of life itself. The opening section of the book is the original "Manifesto of Surrealism" from 1924. This text is the earliest formulation of the essence of the classical Surrealist spirit in its purest form. The next section, entitled "Soluble Fish," makes use of automatic writing and shows that the dream is the great vocabulary of Surrealism. The latter half of the book includes the "Second Manifesto of Surrealism" and a number of more politically oriented tracts which illustrate Breton's attempts to reconcile Surrealism with communism, an effort that ultimately proved to be untenable. What is exciting about this book is its revolutionary approach to life and its uncompromising nonconformist stance. It is a book ideally suited for the poet and the samurai, the lover and the disciple, the astronaut and the valkyrie. With these texts, Breton has tapped into the most impossible reaches of the mind and spirit, and his contribution must not be underestimated.
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Format: Paperback
It is hard to exaggerate the importance and the relevance of this book and the greatness of it's author, Andre Breton. Although a flawed and decidedly ambivalent man, Breton was the first out and out surrealist worthy of the name, seeking the spirit of magic and 'immanent transcendence' of a sort in the marvelous, a sense of mysticism and wonder in no way supernatural or otherworldly. Breton exhorts us to break the sterile and suffocating chains of rationalism and logic, and to realize the relativity of perspectives and perceptions of reality, thereby freeing both our intellect and the supreme weapon of the human mind, the imagination. The surrealist lifestyle is nothing if not a furious attempt at total liberation, and Breton knows that this cannot be said often enough. The mad, the imaginative, the dreamy and the alienated are true 'surrealists' and unwittingly live this defiant philosophy of rebellion through their resolute refusal to conform to society's norms and to replace their own thoughts with those of the uninspired, the average, the ordinary. The literary and poetic precursors Breton cites are absolutely perfect and in accordance with the ideology he is formulating:anyone who has deeply felt the power of imaginative art has felt the spirit of surrealism, and Breton was possessed by it. He once screamed furiously, "I AM SURREALISM!"--and far from seeing it as arrogant or pompous, I think he was right.
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By A Customer on June 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
Breton's work is one of the seminal classics of twentieth century art and literature and deserves to be read, if for no other reason, purely for historical ones. However, the intersted historian will quickly be transported beyond the realm of antiquarian curiosity and into an embodied philosophy of life that profoundly critiques and challenges the status quo. In many ways, the critiques/alternatives offered by Breton and the surrealists are more desperately needed now in the beginning of the 21st century than they were in the beginning of the 20th.
As to the previous reviewers rather shallow critique, I can only say that Breton (still read in France as one of their major 20th c. poets) has written these as witty, playful, often beatiful sometimes even rambling texts. To call them terse is to either radically misuse the word or to lack an aesthetic sensibility, or perhaps both. As for the supposed rehashing of an "old, dilapitated art school that has nothing more to say", such an unsupported critique reveals far more about the reviewer than about Breton.
Enjoy this book.
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