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“The Black Pope”

IMPROBABLY, A SERIOUS STUDY OF André Breton, founder and leader of the Surrealist movement, has been crucially missing in spite of all that has been written around the subject. Anna Balakian has essayed this task in a biography* which has taken her over a decade to complete. Essentially it offers an ambitious exegesis of the most difficult texts, and not only clarifies many aspects of the movement but illuminates the complex, extraordinary personality of André Breton. For those of us who knew not only Breton but also his colleagues and followers during the New York phase of Surrealism, Miss Balakian’s book is valuable in itself and opens the way for intelligent study. The New York phase is especially enlightening.

Although the pages of Charles Henri Ford’s View (1940–1947) were open to displaced European artists and writers of the Surrealist persuasion, it was inevitable that Breton would

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