Andrer Breton, Surrealist, Surrealism, Books by Andre Breton, Surrealist Books, Surrealist art
1896 - 1966
Various Short Quotes of Andre Breton

The work of art, just like any fragment of human life considered in its deepest meaning, seems to me devoid of value if it does not offer the hardness, the rigidity, the regularity, the luster on every interior and exterior facet, of the crystal.

To speak of God, to think of God, is in every respect to show what one is made of. I have always wagered against God and I regard the little that I have won in this world as simply the outcome of this bet. However paltry may have been the stake (my life) I am conscious of having won to the full. Everything that is doddering, squint-eyed, vile, polluted and grotesque is summoned up for me in that one word: God!

If I place love above everything, it is because for me it is the most desperate, the most despairing state of affairs imaginable.

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. 

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...      Man... is above all the plaything of his memory.  Andre Breton 

So strong is the belief in life, in what is most fragile in life--real life, I mean--that in the end this belief is lost.

The poetic embrace like the carnal While it endures Forbids all lapse into the miseries of the world. 

Everything tends to make us believe that there exists a certainpoint of the mind at which life and death, the real and the imagined, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable, high and low, cease to be perceived as contradicitons.

Let us not mince words: the marvelous is always beautiful. anything marvelous is beautiful, in fact only the marvelous is beautiful.
Andre Breton, 1924

And ever since I have had a great desire to show forbearance to scientific musing, however unbecoming, in the final analysis, from every point of view. Radio? Fine. Syphilis? If you like. Photography? I don't see any reason why not. The cinema? Three cheers for darkened years. War? Gave us a good laugh. The telephone? Hello. Youth? Charming white hair. Try to make me say thank you: "Thank you." Thank you.
Andre Breton, Manifesto of Surrealism

(Surrealism) declares that it is able, by its own means, to uproot thought from an increasingly cruel state of thralldom, to steer it back onto the path of total comprehension, return it to its original purity.
Andre Breton, Second Manifesto of Surrealism

The simplest Surrealist act consists of dashing down into the street, pistol in hand, and firing blindly, as fast as you can pull the trigger, into the crowd.
Andre Breton, Second Manifesto of Surrealism

Surrealism, as I envisage it, proclaims loudly enough our absolute nonconformity, that there may be no question of calling it, in the case against the real world, as a witness for the defense. It could only account, on the contrary, for the complete state of distraction which we hope to attain here below. Kant's absentmindedness about women, Pasteur's absentmindedness about "grapes," Curie's absentmindedness about vehicles, are in this respect, deeply symptomatic*.
Andre Breton, 1924, Manifeste du Surrealisme

*There is an ascending gradation here in the consequences of absentmindedness. Kant was a confirmed bachelor who completely ignored women all his life. Pasteur on the other hand was involved once in a rather ridiculous incident when, during a meal, he carefully washed grapes in a glass of water, explaining to his guests the importance of eliminating germs from food--and then, distracted, drank the soiled water in the glass. As for Curie, his absentmindedness caused his death: he was run over by a carriage and killed while crossing a street.
Marcel Jean, The Autobiography of Surrealism, p. 125