LA REVOLUTION SURREALISTE: DREAMS AND POETRY (FRANCE)

MARY PAULINE SCHMID-COMBAL, Fordham University

Abstract

The periodical, La Revolution surrealiste, was a vehicle for Surrealist thought during the years 1924-1929. This study focuses on the magazine in general, its format, its literary and social impact. It also illustrates the oneiric level of the review through a detailed study of dream accounts and poetry. The themes and imagery of dreams and poems, in particular, those written by Paul Eluard, Robert Desnos, Benjamin Peret and Louis Aragon, have been examined in the light of Albert Beguin's idea: dreams are not poetry, but all poetry finds its sources in dreams.^ After establishing a bibliography on Surrealism, reading all twelve issues of La Revolution surrealiste and selecting the areas to be studied, it was necessary to define the themes and images which appeared in the dream accounts and the poems. Working with twenty-two dreams and ninety-one poems made visual illustrations, charts and tables, an important segment of the study. The accounts of dreams were treated as stories, with references to setting, characters, plot and imagery. The study of poems, which represents the greater part of the dissertation, required comments on structure, connotation and word association, social, political, metaphysical and spiritual directions.^ The complete collection of La Revolution surrealiste, published by Jean-Michel Place in Paris, 1975, provided the basis for the dissertation. (Original copies of the magazine are also available in the library of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.) Andre Breton's Entretiens (1913-1952) avec Andre Parinaud supplied invaluable information about the Surrealist movement and its participants. Breton's Manifeste du surrealisme (1924) was a major source of Surrealist theory. A discussion of poetic Surrealism, the Manifeste stresses the importance of language and the value of the poetic image as a guide for the mind. It underlines the role of dreams and automatic writing as a means of attaining self-knowledge.^ In publishing La Revolution surrealiste, the Surrealists pursued their goal to promote change in society and ultimately achieve the liberation of man. The emphasis they placed on dreams and poems made those texts best suited to illustrate the hidden forces of the mind. In both dreams and poems, the liberation of man in his totality is reflected in the polarities of light and shadow, love and hate, liberty and restraint. La Revolution surrealiste documents a collective effort to achieve progress through a poetic, and later a social, revolution. ^

Subject Area

Romance literature

Recommended Citation

SCHMID-COMBAL, MARY PAULINE, "LA REVOLUTION SURREALISTE: DREAMS AND POETRY (FRANCE)" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8323547.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8323547

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