257th out of 406 books — 536 voters
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Considered radical at the time, today Breton’s ideas seem almost prescient, yet breathtaking in their passionate underlying belief in the indestructibility of life and the freedom of the human spirit. André Breton wrote Arcanum 17 during a trip to the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec in the months after D-Day in 1944, when the Allied troops were liberating Occupied Europe. Using ...more
Paperback, 148 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Green Integer
(first published 1945)
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i read this years ago, when i was really knee deep in surrealism, i said to hell with american lit, it is all crap, i wanted something different, something that would make me think, and it lead me to dada and surrealism, i read mad love first, this has to be about 1995-1996, but i found a copy of this book, after i read mad love,and i liked it, i saw a common element, that each of his books were about different women and how much he loved them, a different book on a different woman, but arcanum ...more
This a fluidly (un)structured hundred pages written in 1944 when the world looked pretty grim and Breton had exiled himself to North America. Combining philosophical musings on education, liberty and a rather essentialist view (repackaged by some contemporary commentators as feminist) of what women's role should be in society, with a series of poetic images, based on the tarot card of the title, the bird-covered Percé Rock, off coastal Quebec, various themes of loss and redemption, the work is a ...more
An odd, rambling account of political liberty, womanhood, and natural beauty. Beautifully written at times, but also obscure and personal. Some sections read like a string of Joycean epiphanies loosely connected to the book's themes, while other sections read like a political manifesto. I feel as if I may have had a stronger connection to the work if I had been reading it at a certain time in my life--or perhaps if I had lived through that moment in history between the wars upon which Breton was ...more
Andre Breton is one of those deep thinkers and his writing is such that it is not easily understandable. You have to take every sentence and break it down in order to get the exact meaning of what he is trying to communicate. The only way I found out what this book was about is by reading the translator's introduction. For that reason, I am giving this book 2 stars and I doubt that I would read anything else that he has written.
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“Today's education is entirely defective to the extent that, calling itself positivist, it begins with abusing the child's trust by presenting as true what is only either a temporary phenomenon or a hypothesis, when it's not a blatant untruth; and to the extent that it prevents children from forming in good time their own opinions by creasing into them certain habits that make their freedom of judgement an illusion”More quotes…