Expansive Poetics – (Andre Breton – 4 – Andre Breton’s Surrealist Precursors)

AG: Let’s see what else he (Andre Breton says (in his first  Surrealist Manifesto “…(the) omnipotence of the dream, in the disinterested play of thought. It tends definitivly to ruin all the old psychic mechanisms and to take their place in the solution to the principal problems of life” – (In other words, inspired automatonism as a response to a burglar or policeman or war) – After remarking that a number of poets from Dante to Shakespeare‘in his best-days” (sic) might be looked on as “super-realists” (Surrealists), on genius, he says – “In the course of the various attempts which I have made to reduce and explain what is overconfidently known as genius, I have found nothing which could not in the end be attributed to some other process” – (And then he gives a list of what his favorite precursors of Surrrealism are and what particular characteristics or qualities they have – and it’s like a little Surrealist poem, that list, so that’s why I put it in as a poem) – “(Jonathan) Swift, a super-realist in his maliciousness, (The Marquis de) Sade, a super-realist in his sadism/(François-René, de) Chateaubriand, a super-realist in his exoticism/(Benjamin) Constant, a super-realist in politics/ (Victor) Hugo is a super-realist when he’s not stupid –

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

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Marquis de Sade (1740-1814)

François-René de Chateaubriand by Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy Trioson.jpg

Francois-Rene, vicomte de Chateaubriand (1768-1848)


Benjamin Constant (1767-1830)

[These (next) are minor French poets] – “(Marceline) Desbordes-Valmore is a super-realist in love./(Aloysius Bertrand, a super-realist in the past./(Alphonse) Rabbe, a super-realist in death,/(Edgar Allan) Poe is a super-realist in adventure./ (Charles) Baudelaire is a super-realist in morality, (Arthur) Rimbaud>) is a super-realist in the practice of life and otherwise” – (All the laurel wreaths go to Rimbaud) –

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (1786-1859)

Aloysius Bertrand  (1807-1841)

Alphonse Rabbe (1784-1829)

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Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)

Arthur Rimbaud ( 1854-1891)

Stéphane Mallarmé is a super-realist in confidence” – (Because Mallarmé wrote huge empty poems which only he could understand the associations of – supreme self-confidence.]

Stéphane Mallarmé  (1842-1898)

Alfred Jarry is a super-realist in absinthe./(Germain) Nouveau is a super-realist in the kiss./ Saint-Pol-Roux is a super-realist in the symbol./Léon-Paul Fargue is super-realist  in atmosphere./(Jacques) Vaché is a super-realist in ego.” – (Vaché, we have a little text of his (in our anthology) – he committed suicide)

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Alfred Jarry (1873-1907)

Germain Nouveau ( 1851-1920)

Saint-Pol-Roux (1861-1940)

Artwork by Man Ray, Leon Paul Fargue, Made of Gelatin silver print

Léon-Paul Fargue (1876-1947)

Jacques Vaché (1895-1919)

Pierre Reverdy is a super-realist at home. St.John Perse is a super-realist at a distance” – (We had Anabasis to show the distance in St John Perse)- “(Raymond) Roussel a super-realist in anecdote.”

Pierre Reverdy (1889-1960)

Saint-John Perse (1887-1975)

Raymond Roussel (1877-1933)

“Let us cut the question short – The marvelous is always beautiful, anything that is marvelous is beautiful and only the marvelous is beautiful.”

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately twenty-three-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at twenty-five-and-three-quarters]

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