Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade April 2001

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There are many definitions for the word 'Surrealism'. One might say that it was an art movement, but another might say it is a state of mind. The Encarta Encyclopedia states, " Surrealism is an artistic and literary movement that explored and celebrated the realm of dreams and the unconscious mind through the creation of visual art, poetry, and motion pictures." The New World Webster's Dictionary describes surrealism as " pure psychic automatism by which it is intended to express, either in writing or verbally, the true function of thought. Thought dictated in the absence of all control exerted by reason, and outside all aesthetic or moral occupations." Surrealism was the most intriguing art movement of the 20th century. It combines fantasies, dreams, and the unusual world of the subconscious, with the often ugly realities of the times. The movement flourished in Europe between World War I and World War II, and it represented a reaction against what it's members thought as the destruction of the "rationalism" that guided Europeans culture and politics in the past(Kashevov).

Surrealism was officially launched in Paris, France, in 1924, when French writer Andre Breton wrote the first surrealist manifesto, outlining the ambitions of the new movement. Surrealism attracted many members of the chaotic Dada movement, and was deeply influenced by the psychoanalytic work of Sigmund Freud and Dr. Carl Jung. Dadaism, founded during World War I(1914-1918), was profoundly politically motivated - to riticule culture, reason, and technology. Tritan Tzara, leader of the Dada movement, wanted to attack society through scandal. He believed that a society that creates the monstrosity of war does not deserve art, so he decided to give it anti-art -not beauty but ugliness. The surrealists were also influenced by the time period they were in. From a technological standpoint...