Department of Needed Translations: André Breton

I recently had the opportunity to examine the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade edition of André Breton’s Œuvres Complètes, as well as the rare illustrated Album André Breton volume. The first volume came out in 1988 and the fourth, and final one, just appeared in 2008. The Pléiade editions are beautifully produced books, although one wishes […]

More on André Breton and Haiti

I have just discovered a fascinating book (originally published in Quebec as Les Écrivains Noir et le Surréalisme) titled The Black Surrealists by Jean-Claude Michel, a teacher in Miami. I don’t recall this book being cited in Robin Kelley’s Black Brown and Beige (reviewed earlier on this blog), which is a shame because it contains […]

Breton and Haiti, Once Again

I just had the opportunity to read André Breton: Magus of Surrealism by Anna Balakian, the first American scholar to seriously investigate Surrealism. Balakian, who passed away in 1997 (see obituary in The New York Times, August 15, 1997), published Literary Origins of Surrealism in 1947, after having interviewed Breton when he lived in New […]

Department of Passing References: Breton and Haiti

Out of Ruin, Haiti’s Visionaries *** André Breton’s connection to Haiti was mentioned briefly in this interesting article in The New York Times this week. In a special museum section (in Thursday’s print national edition), Holland Cotter describes the effects of the recent earthquake on Haiti’s artists. He mentions Breton in reference to damage to […]

Between Uncle Sam and Papa Doc

Red & Black in Haiti: Radicalism, Conflict, and Political Change, 1934-1957 Matthew J. Smith (University of North Carolina Press, 2009) *** Even for those sympathetic to Haiti, the big events—the great revolution at the close of the eighteenth century, the brutal Duvalier regime, and the roller coaster ride of Aristide’s political career—are probably all they […]

A Surrealist leaf from Haiti’s revolutionary history

At this moment of physical devastation in Haiti, recalling an event from the country’s rich revolutionary past is a small gesture of solidarity with its people. This passage is from Franklin Rosemont’s long essay André Breton and the First Principles of Surrealism. “Lescot” is Élie Lescot, staunch ally of Franklin Roosevelt and one of Haiti’s […]