Andrer Breton, Surrealist, Surrealism, Books by Andre Breton, Surrealist Books, Surrealist art
1896 - 1966
Excerpt from Nadja, 1928 :

   "Who am I? If this once I were to rely on a proverb, then perhaps everything would amount to knowing whom I 'haunt.' I must admit that this last word is misleading,tending to establish between certain beings and myself relations that are stranger, more inescapable, more disturbing than I intended. Such a word means much more than it says, makes me, still alive, play a ghostly part, evidently referring to what I must have ceased to be in order to be who I am. Hardly distorted in this sense, the word suggests that what I regard as the objective, more or less de liberate manifestations of my existence are merely the premises, within the limits of this existence, of an activity whose true extent is quite unknown to me. My image of the "ghost," including everything
   conventional about its appearance as well as its blind submission to certain contingencies of time and place, is particularly significant for me as the finite representation of a torment that may be eternal. Perhaps my life is nothing but an image of this kind; perhaps I am doomed to retrace my steps under the illusion that I am exploring, doomed to try and learn what I should simply recognize learning a mere fraction of what I have forgotten. This sense of myself seems inadequate only insofar as it presupposes myself, arbitrarily preferring a completed image of my mind which need not be reconciled with time, and insofar as it implies-within this same time-an idea of irreparable loss, of punishment, of a fall whose lack of moral basis is, as I see it, indisputable. What matters is that the particular aptitudes my day-to-day life gradually reveals should not distract me from my search for a general aptitude which would be peculiar to me and which is not innate. Over and above the various
prejudices I acknowledge, the affinities I feel, the attractions I succumb to, the events which occur to me and to me alone-over and above a sum of movements I am conscious of making, of emotions I alone experience-I strive, in relation to other men, to discover the nature, if not the necessity, of my difference from them. Is it not precisely to the degree I become conscious of this difference that I shall recognize what I alone have been put on this earth to do, what unique message I alone may bear, so that I alone can answer for its fate?"