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Originality and liberty
Author André BretonPeople cited Charles Baudelaire, William Blake, Robert Browning, Gustave Courbet, Federico García Lorca, Francesco Goya, Friedrich Hölderlin, Isidore Ducasse, dit comte de Lautréamont, Gérard de Nerval, Friedrich von Hardenberg, dit Novalis, Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh, Guillaume Apollinaire, André Breton, William Hogarth, Georges Seurat
Published in French for the first time in the third volume of the Œuvres complètes, this text was drafted on 1 July 1941 for the Sydney-based journal Art in Australia. It was published in December of that year. A pacifist and internationalist, Breton evokes a situation that continues to worry him. Under these circumstances, in his view, the artist’s position must more than ever return to his or her creative practice, without betraying either its originality or its freedom. This theme of originality also arises at the same period in his speech delivered to the Rescue Committee Lunch. [Atelier André Breton website, 2005]
Signed handwritten manuscript, New York, 1 July 1941
- 1 1/2 in-4° pages, first draft manuscript with tightly spaced writing, dated and signed by André Breton in green ink with deletions and corrections, on the reverse side of headed notepaper for the Hôtel Europa, Dominican Republic of this text relating to the challenges to art and artists in times of war:
“Human thought, to-day, is greatly humiliated. [...] Human thought is humiliated in the sense that it is compelled to note, to affirm, from day to day, a series of events which do not have any bearing at all upon rational intelligence, and which are related solely to barbarism. [...]
In such events, I deem that, as long as there remains a rostrum, the voice of the poet, of the artist, inasmuch as it carries farthest, ought to be the most loudly heard. […]
In our modern day, these explorers are called: Holderlin, Novalis, Nerval, Blake, Poe, Baudelaire, Browning, Lautreamont, Rimbaud, Apollinaire, Lorca; they are called Hogarth, Goya, Courbet, Van Gogh, Seurat. One strong, self-evident line runs through these names, pointing not toward the past, but toward the
future, charged with warning weight upon our way. […]
Originality, ever greater originality in art, ought to be sought as the supreme antidote for the poison of the times in which we are living.”
(La Pléiade, volume III, Inédits I, pages 178-81). [Auction catalogue, 2003]
Translated by Krzysztof Fijalkowski
- André Breton, (Édition de Marguerite Bonnet avec la collaboration de Philippe Bernier, Marie-Claire Dumas, Étienne-Alain Hubert et José Pierre), Originalité et Liberté, Inédits I, Œuvres complètes, tome III, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 1999, pages 178-181.
- Paru en décembre 1942 in Art in Australia.
1 1/2 in-4° pages.
|Date of publication||1941|
|Physical description||Ms - encre verte|
|Breton Auction, 2003||Lot 2234|
|Keywords||Speeches, New York, Philosophy, Poetry|
|Categories||Andre Breton's Manuscripts|
|Set||[AB's Manuscripts] Miscellaneous Manuscripts|
|Exhibition||Discours du 27 juin 1941|