Surrealist Manifesto

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The Library holds an original 1929 copy of the second printing of the 1924 Surrealist manifesto by Andrew Breton, published in Paris by Editions Kra and subtitled poisson soluble or soluble fish – an example of the absurdist humour that characterizes surrealism and its Dada precursor. The frontispiece is by Max Ernst.

The manifesto defined surrealism as “psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express — verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner — the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.” It also highlights the importance of the dream state, and stresses that the surrealist impulse can be enacted throughout all of life, and not just in the arts.

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