Nadja: Understanding Breton's Beliefs about Surrealism

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Nadja "It is not the fear of madness which will oblige us to leave the flag of imagination furled." ~ Andre Breton, "Manifesto of Surrealism" Andre Breton was a famous artist of the Surrealist movement. The Surrealists became popular following the First World War. After going through a period where so many people had to witness such horrible acts of violence and bloodlust, a great many were permanently changed. Many American and British citizens for example became expatriated and instead of returning to their pre-war lives spend the 1920s drinking, having sex, and doing whatever possible to numb their senses to the reality of man's inhumanity towards his fellow men. Out of this malaise and confusion came the Surrealists. Their intent was to blend reality and the mind, to understand inhuman violence with humane tenderness and finally to find their individual identities in a world unlike the one they knew before World War I. Andre Breton's book Nadja, first published in the 1920s is ostensibly a love story between the narrator Andre and the eponymous Nadja. However, this is only the superficial thesis of the narrative, if there is one. More than a story of how a man fell in and then out of love, Nadja is about a man who falls in love with the idea of love and with the ideal woman of his imagination. The romance ends when the woman fails to live up to the impossible expectations of her paramour. Surrealism is a form of art which attempts to recreate the human mind, or as

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