By Breton, André; Matthews, J. H.; Breton, André
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Additional info for André Breton : sketch for an early portrait
11). The first of the latter whom he came to know was Jean Royère, whose "superbly hermetic poetry" continued to impress him at the time he was interviewed on radio. Entretiens lists others—Vielé-Griffin, René Ghil, SaintPol-Roux, and Valéry—and then, by an odd process telescoping two years (it took Breton almost until the end of 1915 to begin corresponding with him), a "poetic figure of the very first rank" (p. 18): Guillaume Apollinaire. "1 Pastoureau 33 34 André Breton intimates that on the eve of the 1914-18 war, André Breton was still devoted to poetry of a kind which he would spend his adult life ridiculing, that he was still intent on reaching poetry by concentrating on external aspects of the poetic text for which, before long, he would have nothing but contempt.
Nonetheless, reflecting on the things he saw in and through Picabian pictorial art surely had enabled Breton to make a major discovery. From that moment on, he was persuaded that artistic integrity could be attained only by way of successful implementation of procedures making possible exploration of regions of the self remote from those commonly examined in art. A most revealing aspect of the information provided by André Breton's Barcelona lecture is that nothing is lost by the fact that—the circumstances perhaps warranted it, though may not have explained it fully—Breton addressed himself exclusively to paying tribute to Picabia's accomplishments as a painter.
The misgivings he felt grew partly out of his regret at seeing himself no longer worthy of the poet's role, compounded by his fear that poetry itself might possibly have ceased to merit the respect needed to authenticate his endeavors as a writer. With Breton's escape from the influence of Mallarmé (to be more exact, with his rejection of that influence) came a change in emphasis from form to content. This change would have come in any case, in all probability, as the young poet matured and found he had more to say.