Surrealist Manifesto Book Summary - Surrealist Manifesto Book explained in key points

Surrealist Manifesto summary

André Breton

Brief summary

Surrealist Manifesto by André Breton is a groundbreaking work that introduced the world to the Surrealist movement. It delves into the philosophy, principles, and techniques of Surrealism, challenging conventional notions of art and reality.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    Surrealist Manifesto
    Summary of key ideas

    Breaking the Bounds of Reality

    In Surrealist Manifesto, André Breton uncovers the philosophy behind the surrealist movement, advocating for an art form that breaks from the constraints of the rational mind. Saying adieu to conventional logic, he encourages the exploration of the subconscious, viewing it as an untapped source of untamed creativity and wild imagination. For him, true reality, or "surreality," lies in the amalgamation of dreams and reality, where the mind roams unrestricted.

    Further, Breton emphasizes poetry as the key to unlocking this surreality. He suggests that creative minds should tap into the process of drawing subconscious thoughts and emotions – much like in dreaming – to create art and literature without preconditions or censorship, thereby mimicking the process of dreaming while awake. He sees the potential in all human beings to connect with their subconscious and, through this revolution of thought, to elevate their imagination and creativity.

    The Role of Automatic Writing

    The concept of "automatic writing," a practice in which one writes without conscious thought, also takes the central stage in Breton's discourse. Practical in nature, he proposes it as a tool for sidestepping our critical mind to access the untamed mental landscape of thoughts, ideas, and feelings that we might otherwise censor consciously. According to Breton, this technique stimulates surrealism, forming a bridge between the conscious and subconscious realms.

    Yet, his vision of surrealism was not confined to literature and art alone. He envisioned it as a radical revolution that could transform society. This extended vision, underpinned by ideals of political and social change, imagined a world where human behavior is not governed by reason and normality, disrupting the status quo.

    Embracing the Irrational

    Throughout the Surrealist Manifesto, Breton argues against rationality as the only means of understanding the world. Rather, he underscores the importance of the unpredictable, irrational, and absurd, viewing these elements as just as integral in our understanding of life. In his surreal world, images need not be logically connected, thoughts need not follow a rational thread, and dreams have equal standing with our wakeful experiences.

    A pivotal moment in the book witnesses Breton illustrating this theory with a trickle of poetic images unleashed from his subconscious. They sum up his vision of surrealism: a stream of absurd, illogical, and disconnected images that reflect the mind unrestrained by reason. These examples, revealing Breton's own practice of automatic writing, demonstrate surrealism in action, painting a dramatic image of untethered creativity.

    Final Thoughts

    As the manifesto culminates, Breton lays stress on the omnipresent possibility of surrealist thought. He suggests that surrealism is not an exclusive realm of artists or poets but is accessible to anyone who dares to explore their subconscious freely. He frankly admits that while surrealism may seem shocking and chaotic at first, it is the path to true liberation of the mind from societal and intellectual restrictions.

    In summary, Surrealist Manifesto by André Breton ignites a radical shift in understanding and experiencing reality. Advocating for an art and life embedded in the subconscious, surreal, and dreamlike, Breton liberates the mind from the shackles of conventional thought and opens a gateway to untamed creativity. Much more than just an art form, surrealism, according to Breton, has the potential to revolutionize our perception of the world, society, and ourselves.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Surrealist Manifesto about?

    The book Surrealist Manifesto by André Breton delves into the Surrealist movement and its principles. Breton outlines the foundations of Surrealism, including its emphasis on the power of the unconscious mind and the rejection of societal norms. This thought-provoking manifesto explores the ways in which art and literature can challenge conventional thinking and liberate the imagination.

    Who should read Surrealist Manifesto?

    • Enthusiasts of surrealism and avant-garde art
    • Artists looking to explore new creative techniques and perspectives
    • Curious individuals fascinated by the inner workings of the human subconscious

    About the Author

    André Breton was a key figure in the Surrealist movement. As the author of the influential 'Surrealist Manifesto,' he played a significant role in shaping the artistic and literary landscape of the 20th century. Breton's writing and leadership helped define Surrealism as a means of exploring the unconscious mind and challenging societal norms. Some of his other notable works include 'Nadja' and 'Arcanum 17.'

    Categories with Surrealist Manifesto

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    29 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial