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Signed manuscript by André Breton dated 15 May 1957.

As a ‘sacred language’, poetry must be shielded from any political interference: this is the ‘message’ Breton ends up delivering to Pierre de Boisdeffre, in an interview granted to him in May 1957 for Les Nouvelles littéraires. In it Breton also alludes to the situation in Hungary, and once again draws up a list of key writers. Rimbaud, naturally, and as usual Novalis and Jarry but also – in a new development – Antonin Artaud, whose work André Breton had been acknowledging regularly since his return from Rodez after the war but who is here elevated to the senior ranks. [Site Atelier André Breton, 2005]


Signed handwritten manuscript by André Breton dated Paris, 15 May 1957. 
‘Change life, yes, who could put this better? I see no higher aim bestowed upon poetry since Rimbaud and, even if some might judge this claim to be excessive, in my view there is no call to renege on it.
As far as the poets of yesteryear are concerned, at the risk of not restraining myself enough but in this context, in the interests of having done with the ridiculous and redundant distinction between poetic works in prose and in verse, I would list Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Chateaubriand, Novalis, Hölderlin, Hugo, Nerval, Fourier, Baudelaire, Lautréamont, Rimbaud, Nietzsche, Mallarmé, Charles Cros, Huysmans, Jarry, Roussel and Apollinaire. I would also add Artaud if not for the fact that for me he still belongs to the present. You are really putting me at risk by asking me to choose among the living poets, but all the same, let’s say Saint-John Perse, Reverdy, Jouve, Péret, Michaux, Char, Gracq, Georges Bataille, Césaire, Schéhadé, Pieyre de Mandiargues and Malcolm de Chazal; I’m obliged to keep to those who have been active for longest or whose work is already very extensive.’ [Auction catalogue, 2003]


Translated by Krzysztof Fijalkowski


André Breton, [Interview par Pierre de Boisdeffre], « Poésie 58 », Les Nouvelles littéraires, 31 juillet 1958.

André Breton (Édition publiée sous la direction d'Étienne-Alain Hubert avec la collaboration de Philippe Bernier et Marie-Claire Dumas), « [Interview - Pierre Boisdeffre]  », Alentours, Œuvres complètes, tome IV, Écrits sur l'art et autres textes, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 2008, p. 1080-1084, notice p. 1452.

Creation date15/05/1957
Bibliographical material

2 in-4° pages of manuscript in ink, titled, dated and signed by André Breton, with deletions and corrections.



André Breton, ‘[Interview par Pierre de Boisdeffre]’, ‘Poésie 58’, Les Nouvelles littéraires, 31 July 1958.

André Breton, ‘[Interview - Pierre Boisdeffre]’, Alentours, Œuvres complètes, volume IV, Écrits sur l'art et autres textes (edition established by Marguerite Bonnet and edited by Étienne-Alain Hubert with contributions from Philippe Bernier and Marie-Claire Dumas), Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, Paris, Gallimard, 2008, pp. 1080-84, notes p. 1452.

Date of publication 01/01/1957
Number of pages2 p.
Breton Auction, 2003Lot 2441
Keywords, , ,
CategoriesArchives, Andre Breton's Manuscripts
Set[AB's Manuscripts] Miscellaneous Manuscripts
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