You have never forgiven Breton’s hatred of homosexuality. I am fascinated by it, not scandalized. Didn’t Debord hate homosexuality too? And on the same grounds as Norman Mailer, of all people.
Anyway, the Surrealists were the best European group – better than the SI. Maurice Nadeau’s book confirmed that for me when I read it years ago. I leant it to Taylor, and she agreed. (Do you still talk to her, by the way? I haven’t heard anything from her in years. Does she know about my daughter? Has she found a way to be happy? I pray she is well.)
I came across a line from Breton: “After centuries of philosophy we’re still living off the poetic ideas of the first men.” It’s perfect, really. All the encouragement I need for my turn to Aeschylus and Heraclitus and Parmenides and Job: the first men. The men before poetry and philosophy came to be by their being cleaved from one another.
The problem with the surrealists and the SI is that Breton and Debord were geniuses, and people like me who read real books think too highly of geniuses. We get accustomed to the capabilities of genius in literature and forget that genius elsewhere is ruinous. The great men who were any good took up poetry or history and stayed away from the castle or the barricade. The blessing and the curse of our age is that it’s without great men.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
The Creator is God the poet. God made (ἐποίησεν) the world with words: the Creation of the tragedy (ἡ Ποίησις τῆς τραγῳδίας). So sayeth St. Breton: “We’re still living off the poetic ideas of the first men…”