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Modern History Sourcebook:
A Surrealist Manifesto:
The Declaration of January 27, 1925

With regard to a false interpretation of our enterprise, stupidly circulated among the public, We declare as follows to the entire braying literary, dramatic, philosophical, exegetical and even theological body of contemporary criticism:
  1. We have nothing to do with literature; But we are quite capable, when necessary, of making use of it like anyone else,
  2. Surrealism is not a new means or expression, or an easier one, nor even a metaphysic of poetry. It is a means of total liberation of the mind and of all that resembles it.
  3. We are determined to make a Revolution.
  4. We have joined the word surrealism to the word revolution solely to show the disinterested, detached, and even entirely desperate character of this revolution.
  5. We make no claim to change the mores of mankind, but we intend to show the fragility of thought, and on what shifting foundations, what caverns we have built our trembling houses.
  6. We hurl this formal warning to Society; Beware of your deviations and faux-pas, we shall not miss a single one.
  7. At each turn of its thought, Society will find us waiting.
  8. We are specialists in Revolt. There is no means of action which we are not capable, when necessary, of employing.
  9. We say in particular to the Western world: surrealism exists. And what is this new ism that is fastened to us? Surrealism is not a poetic form. It is a cry of the mind turning back on itself, and it is determined to break apart its fetters, even if it must be by material hammers!
Bureaus de Recherches Surréalistes,
15, Rue de Grenelle
Signed: Louis Aragon, Antonin Artaud, Jacques Baron, Joë Bousquet, J.-A. Boiffard, André Breton, Jean Carrive, René Crevel, Robert Desnos, Paul Élaurd, Max Ernst, et al. Source: Maurice Nadeau, The History of Surrealism, Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1989, pp.240-41.

This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history. Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use of the Sourcebook. (c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997
halsall@murray.fordham.edu