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Manuscript of a text by André Breton initially published in English in 1944, then reprinted in La Clé des champs in 1953.

As far as the first few paragraphs are concerned at least, this is a very different version of this text written in 1944, published by Breton and republished in the third volume of the Pléiade complete works. Initially destined for an American music magazine (the English version appeared in Modern Music, March-April 1944), it was first published in French in 1950 in an anthology of Breton’s poems edited by Jean-Louis Bédouin for Seghers (in the ‘Poètes d'aujourd'hui’ series). Breton gives his views on music, to which he confesses to be practically deaf. [Atelier André Breton website, 2005]

Signed handwritten manuscript, New York, 24 February 1944.
- 2 in-4° manuscript pages, titled and dated in ink by André Breton, with deletions and corrections of this text analysing the relationship between music and poetry.
‘The diametrically opposed reception I offer to poetry and to music, thanks to my personal disposition, nevertheless does not lead me to relinquish all objective judgment on their account. If I were to keep to the hierarchy proposed by Hegel, music would come just after poetry in the order of the ability to express ideas and emotions, and above the visual arts. But above all I am certain that the antagonism between poetry and music that to some ears seems to have reached its height today

should not be unproductively deplored but, on the contrary, interpreted as indicating the necessity for recasting certain principles of these two art forms.’  (La Pléiade, volume III, La Clé des champs, pages 728 to 733) [Auction catalogue, 2003]


Translated by Krzysztof Fijalkowski


- André Breton, "Silence Is Golden", Modern Music, vol. XXI, n°3, mars-avril 1944
- Jean-Louis Bédouin, « Silence d'Or », in André Breton, coll. « Poètes d'aujourd'hui », Paris, Seghers, 1950.
- André Breton (Édition de Marguerite Bonnet avec la collaboration de Philippe Bernier, Marie-Claire Dumas, Étienne-Alain Hubert et José Pierre), « Silence d'Or », La Clé des champs, Œuvres complètes, tome III, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 1999, pages 728 à 733.

Creation date24-févr.-44
Date of publication 1944
Physical descriptionMs - encres bleue et noire

Bibliothèque littéraire Jacques Doucet, Paris : BRT 95

Keywords, ,
CategoriesAndre Breton's Manuscripts
Set[AB's Manuscripts] Miscellaneous Manuscripts
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