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André Breton (February 18, 1896September 28, 1966) was a French writer, poet, and surrealist theorist. His writings include the Surrealist Manifesto of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as pure psychic automatism.

Born into modest origins in Tinchebray (Orne) in Normandy, he studied medicine and psychiatry. During World War I he worked in a neurological ward in Nantes, where he met the spiritual son of Alfred Jarry, Jacques Vaché, a young man who lived his life like a work of art and committed suicide at age 24. Jacques Vaché had considerable influence on Breton, even though all that remains are some war letters.

In 1919, Breton founded the review Littérature with Louis Aragon and Philippe Soupault. He also connected with Dadaist Tristan Tzara.

In The Magnetic Fields (Les Champs Magnétiques), a collaboration with Soupault, he put the principle of automatic writing into practice. He published the Surrealist Manifesto in 1924, and was editor of La Révolution surréaliste from 1924. A group coalesced around him — Philippe Soupault, Louis Aragon, Paul Éluard, René Crevel, Michel Leiris, and Robert Desnos.

Anxious to combine the changing of life of Rimbaud with the transforming of the world of Marx, Breton joined the Communist Party in 1927, from which he was expelled in 1933.

Under his influence, surrealism became a European movement that touched all domains of art, and called into question the cause of human understanding and the types of views given to things and events.

Dissatisfied with the Vichy government, Breton sought refuge in the United States in 1941. Breton returned to Paris in 1946, where he continued, until his death, to foster a second group of surrealists in the form of expositions or reviews (La Brèche, 1961-1965).

His works include a novel, Nadja (1928).

He married three times

André Breton died in 1966 and was interred in the Cimetière des Batignolles in Paris.

References

External links

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