The automatic writing of André Bretón, a transcription of his dreams

The automatic writing of André Bretón, a transcription of his dreams

Imagine writing everything you dream or think without any logical reasoning or detachment, that's what André Bretón's automatic writing is about.

The automatic writing that André Bretón invented is a transcription of dreams to paper or an authentic photograph of thought.

André Breton is recognized as the father of surrealism. The French artist proposed automatic writing as a way to reach the area of ​​the unconscious. He said that with this one could make a poetic discourse that goes beyond the established aesthetic, social or moral order.

In itself, the automatic writing, is to transmit as they arose the ideas of the mind, without reflecting them and without having a precise subject. It is about translating them directly into a text or poem. This, because the sentences would come directly from the subconscious and would not have logical coherence with each other.

André Breton


The creator of surrealism was a writer, poet, essayist and theoretician. Of modest origin, began to study medicine, despite the desire of his family to be an engineer. During the First World War, in 1916, he met the writer Jacques Vaché, who exercised great influence over him. This interperosnal relationship, would mark his first approach to the world of art. Later, he would do it with the Dadaist group.

Despite the safety of André Breton on his proposal of automatic writing, this new way of making art was strongly criticized. But nevertheless, Breton explained that this technique was justified in the fact that the dream had an objective reality. And at the same time, it exerted a great influence on the objective conscious reality.

And what Breton wanted to achieve with this, according to his words was:

"A dictation of thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason and outside of any aesthetic or moral concern."

Critical to automatic writing


This way of writing, of transcribing thoughts and dreams without previous filters, has been a subject debated in various artistic spheres.

Some claim that the texts produced under the scheme of automatic writing are a farce. Further, they have qualified it as an opening because they consider it impossible to disconnect the objective awareness of the creative act.

They have even accused her of being indolent, irresponsible and not very creative. And of simple, being understood said simplicity like a loose form to realize texts.

Although they have criticized this form of writing, it is true that it has also been accepted as a way to liberate the creative conscious.

As a first step that feels the foundations of the subsequent final creation. It has been seen more as a way to free the mind, to brainstorm ideas and then use them.

Writing from the creative flow


Breton did not want his writing to be reduced to calculations by psychologists. For them, he became a defender of orthodoxy and surreal purity. For example, the art of Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí, Louis Aragon, Philipe Soupault, Antonin Artaud, and Paul Éluard.

Likewise, he proposed to fly over the literary techniques of Surrealism, a movement based on the power of the image, dreams and the annulment of logic. That is about the experimentation towards our playful and childish side and of a change not exempt from certain madness.

Thus, Breton advocated mechanical writing, born from the creative flow of the subconscious and, therefore, without being influenced by any type of rational or aesthetic obstacle.

For this reason, he wrote the First Surrealist Manifesto in 1924. In one of his fragments, André

Surrealist Manifesto


Breton explains the technique of automatic writing:

  1. Situate yourself in a place that is as propitious as possible to the concentration of the spirit
  2. Enter the most passive, or receptive state, of which we are capable
  3. To dispense with the genius, talent, and the genius and talent of others
  4. Repeatedly say that literature is one of the saddest paths that lead everywhere
  5. Write quickly, without a preconceived topic, write fast enough not to be able to brake and not to be tempted to read what is written
  6. Let the first sentence come to mind and so succinctly
  7. Keep writing. Trust in the inexhaustible nature of the murmur
  8. If silence threatens, due to a lack, we need to call "lack of inattention", here, interrupt
  9. Following the word put any letter and thus return to the state of arbitrariness.

This is how André Breton defined automatic writing and used it as a way of making art through the subconscious and the spontaneity of thought.