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Signed manuscript by André Breton dated 19 April 1956.

‘Shameful’: Breton expresses himself in these robust and incisive terms in this short speech prepared on 19 April 1956 and delivered the following day at the Meeting in Defence of Freedom held at the Salle des horticulteurs. Returning to themes that had been taken up in the previous weeks, the poet denounces a repressive politics characterized by the arrest of Claude Bourdet and Trotskyist militants, the raids to which the Le Libertaire and La Vérité had been subjected, and more broadly the contradictions of a government that no longer held true to the tradition of the Resistance. In opposing colonialism, Breton appeals to his friend Aimé Césaire’s Discourse on Colonialism and invites his audience to join the Action Committee of French intellectuals against the war in North Africa. 

Signed handwritten manuscripts, salle des Horticulteurs, 20 April 1956
- 3 pages of first-draft manuscript, titled, dated and signed in black ink by André Breton, with numerous deletions and corrections. 

Declaration to the Meeting in Defence of Freedom in which Breton speaks in defence of Messali Hadj:

‘Effectively incarcerated for twenty-five years who and – a rather significant coincidence – the Guy Mollet government has deported to Belle-Isle, the same place where Napoleon had interned Blanqui…’.
André Breton also takes up the defence of the press and notably of Claude Bourdet:
‘The journals La vérité and Le libertaire raided for having dared to express the predominant opinion about the latest war in the hope of covertly undermining their fragile material support that are price of their complete independence – everyone knows that the first criterion for identifying a fascist regime is that it won’t tolerate opposition media…’.  

- 4 manuscript pages of the definitive version of the text, dated, titled and signed by André Breton.
Published in the journal Le Surréalisme, même.


Translated by Krzysztof Fijalkowski


Le Surréalisme même, n° 1, octobre 1956.

André Breton (Édition publiée sous la direction d'Étienne-Alain Hubert avec la collaboration de Philippe Bernier et Marie-Claire Dumas), « Déclaration au meeting '"Pour la défense de la liberté" », Perspective cavalièreŒuvres complètes, tome IV, Écrits sur l'art et autres textes, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 2008, p. 940-944, notice p. 1414.


Creation date19/04/1956
Bibliographical material

3 in-4° pages of first-draft manuscript, titled, dated and signed.

4 in-4° manuscript pages of the definitive version of the text, dated, titled and signed by André Breton.

Black ink.

Number of pages7 p.
Breton Auction, 2003Lot 2429
Keywords, ,
CategoriesAndre Breton's Manuscripts
Set[AB's Manuscripts] Miscellaneous Manuscripts, [Archives] Le surréalisme, même
ExhibitionPour la défense de la liberté
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