Essay on `` Who Am I?

1617 Words Dec 12th, 2016 7 Pages
“Who am I?”, asks André Breton in Nadja, one of his iconic works of the French Surrealist movement. Breton, like many other great thinkers questioned his identity and believed that there must be something beyond our current reality. That is where Surrealism comes in. But what even is Surrealism? Surrealism is not only a revolution, but also an “attack of conscience,” “pure psychic automatism,” and a “new mode of pure expression,” according to its founder André Breton. The term was originally coined by Guillaume Apollinaire but Breton and his colleague, Philippe Soupault gave it new meaning. In his declarative and comprehensive texts, Manifestoes of Surrealism, Breton defines for us Surrealism and explains the phenomenon in detail so that more can become aware and utilize the technique. Drawing heavy influences from Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx, Breton reveals to us the limitless opportunities of Surrealism and how it allows us to achieve a perception of a higher reality, similar to how the exoteric texts challenged us to question our beliefs, and thus break free from our default frame of reference. However unlike the esoteric texts, Surrealism has a much larger scope.
The first of the two manifestoes, simply titled, Manifesto of Surrealism, was published in 1924, and succeeded Dadaism, an art movement of the European avant-garde. At the time of the publication of the manifesto, Europe was still reeling from World War I and art was very much political. Breton and other…

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