Breton, André (äNdrāˈ brətôNˈ) [key], 1896–1966, French writer, founder and theorist of the surrealist movement. He studied neuropsychology and was one of the first in France to publicize the work of Freud. At first a Dadaist, he collaborated with Philippe Soupault in automatic writing in Les Champs magnétiques (1921). He then turned to surrealism, writing three manifestos (1924, 1930, 1934) and opening a studio for "surrealist research." Breton helped to found several reviews: Littérature (1919), Minotaure (1933), and VVV (1944). His other works include Nadja (1928, tr. 1960), a semiautobiographical novel; What is Surrealism? (1934, tr. 1936); Ode à Charles Fourier (1946); and L' Art Magique (1957).
See biography by M. Polizzotti (1995); study by A. E. Balakian (1971); A. E. Balakian and R. E. Kuenzli, ed., André Breton Today (1989).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.