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“TO WALK, WITH THE CERTAINTY OF SLEEPWALKERS, INTO THE VERY CENTRE OF IMMEDIATE KNOWLEDGE” – Vítězslav Nezval on André Breton

“TO WALK, WITH THE CERTAINTY OF SLEEPWALKERS, INTO THE VERY CENTRE OF IMMEDIATE KNOWLEDGE” – Vítězslav Nezval on André Breton

*“Afterword” to André Breton, Co je surrealismus? Tři přednášky [What is Surrealism? Three Lectures], Brno 1937

NOTE: Well-known are André Breton’s visits, in 1934-35, to Prague, during which he delivered three crucial lectures, hailing the city as “the magical capital of old Europe […], one of those cities that electively pin down poetic thought, which is always more or less adrift in space” (“The Surrealist Situation of the Object/The Situation of the Surrealist Object”, my translation). Less well-mapped, at least in the Anglophone context, is the other direction of the exchange, i.e. Nezval’s and Czech surrealists’ visits to Paris throughout the 1930’s. Below, for the first time in English, is Vítězslav Nezval’s “Afterword” to the first Czech publication of Breton’s Prague lectures (1937), in which he details his own visits to the Paris of the surrealists and gives his most comprehensive view on the movement. The text below comes from Prague Poetics: From 1920 to the Present, ed. & trans. David Vichnar, forthcoming with Litteraria Pragensia Books.

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  • EQUUS PRESS was established in 2011 between Paris, London & Prague with the objective of publishing new writing that is innovative & conscious of being doubly marginalised: outside the literary establishment defined by the Anglo-American publishing industry, & outside the confines of nationalism, pursuing a broadly cosmopolitan “agenda.” // EQUUS believes that such a doubly marginalised position allows for a writing both idiosyncratic & authoritative in its distance from which it can take a stand, make a change, & matter; an ability increasingly rare in titles conforming to the dictates of the book market & tastes of mass readership. // EQUUS considers its mission to offer the possibility of publication to writers & writing that matters, focusing mainly, though not exclusively, on Anglophone writing written outside of its native emplacement.
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September 2017
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