Tag Archives: Andre Breton

Almanac – June 11

1184 BC – Trojan War: Troy was sacked and burned, according to calculations by Eratosthenes.

In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans (Greeks) after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus king of Sparta.

The war is one of the most important events in Greek mythology and has been narrated through many works of Greek literature, most notably through Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey. The Iliad relates a part of the last year of the siege of Troy; the Odyssey describes Odysseus’s journey home.

Other parts of the war are described in a cycle of epic poems, which have survived through fragments. Episodes from the war provided material for Greek tragedy and other works of Greek literature, and for Roman poets including Virgil and Ovid.

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1936 – The International Surrealist Exhibition opened in London,  from 11 June to 4 July 1936 at the New Burlington Galleries.

The exhibition was opened in the presence of about two thousand people by André Breton. The average attendance for the whole of the Exhibition was about a thousand people per day.

During the course of the Exhibition, the following lectures were delivered to large audiences:

    June 16 — André Breton — Limites non-frontières du Surréalisme.
    June 19 — Herbert Read — Art and the Unconscious.
    June 24 — Paul Éluard — La Poésie surréaliste.
    June 26 — Hugh Sykes Davies — Biology and Surrealism.
    July 1 —    Salvador Dalí — Fantômes paranoïaques authentiques.

Dali’s lecture was delivered whilst wearing a deep-sea diving suit. Nearly suffocating during the presentation, Dali had to be rescued by the young poet David Gascoyne, who arrived with a spanner to release him from the diving helmet.

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1963 –  Alabama Governor George Wallace stood at the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama in an attempt to block two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from attending that school.

Later in the day, accompanied by federalized National Guard troops, they are able to register.

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Almanac – April 02

742 – Charlemagne born. King of the Franks from 768, the King of Italy from 774, the first Holy Roman Emperor,  called the “Father of Europe” (pater Europae),  his empire united most of Western Europe for the first time since the Roman Empire.

His rule spurred the Carolingian Renaissance, a revival of art, religion, and culture through the medium of the Catholic Church. Through his foreign conquests and internal reforms, Charlemagne encouraged the formation of a common European identity.  Both the French and German monarchies considered their kingdoms to be descendants of Charlemagne’s empire.

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1725 – Giacomo Casanova born.  Italian adventurer and author from the Republic of Venice.

He was, by vocation and avocation, a lawyer, clergyman, military officer, violinist, con man, pimp, gourmand, dancer, businessman, diplomat, spy, politician, medic, mathematician, social philosopher, cabalist, playwright, and writer. He wrote over twenty works, including plays and essays, and many letters. His novel Icosameron is an early work of science fiction.

He has become so famous for his often complicated and elaborate affairs with women that his name is now synonymous with “womanizer“.

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1891 – Max Ernst born. German painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and poet. A prolific artist, Ernst was a primary pioneer of the Dada movement and Surrealism.

Ernst developed a fascination with birds that was prevalent in his work. His alter ego in paintings, which he called Loplop, was a bird. He suggested that this alter-ego was an extension of himself stemming from an early confusion of birds and humans.

 He said that one night when he was young he woke up and found that his beloved bird had died, and a few minutes later his father announced that his sister was born. Loplop often appeared in collages of other artists’ work, such as Loplop presents André Breton.

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1928 – Serge Gainsbourg born. French singer, songwriter, poet, composer, artist, actor and director. Regarded as one of the most important figures in French popular music, he was renowned for his often provocative and scandalous releases, as well as his diverse artistic output, which embodied genres ranging from jazz, chanson, pop and yé-yé, to reggae, funk, rock, electronic and disco music.

Gainsbourg’s extremely varied musical style and individuality make him difficult to categorize. His legacy has been firmly established, and he is often regarded as one of the world’s most influential popular musicians.

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1941 – Dr. Demento born. American radio broadcaster and record collector specializing in novelty songs, comedy, and strange or unusual recordings dating from the early days of phonograph records to the present.

He is credited with introducing new generations of listeners to artists of the early and middle twentieth century whom they may not have otherwise discovered, such as Haywire Mac, Spike Jones, Benny Bell, Yogi Yorgesson, and Tom Lehrer, as well as with bringing parodist “Weird Al” Yankovic to national attention.

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2003 – Edwin Starr died.  American soul music singer. Starr is most famous for his Norman Whitfield produced Motown singles of the 1970s, most notably the number one hit “War”.

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Almanac – February 19

1896 – André Breton  born. French writer and poet, known best as the founder of Surrealism. His writings include the first Surrealist Manifesto (Manifeste du surréalisme) of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as “pure psychic automatism“.

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1940 – Smokey Robinson born. American R&B singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive. Robinson was the founder and front man of the popular Motown vocal group The Miracles, for which he also served as the group’s chief songwriter and producer.

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1994 – Derek Jarman died. English film director, stage designer, diarist, artist, gardener and author. Films include Sebastiane, Jubilee and The Last of England.

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2001 – Charles Trenet died. French singer and songwriter, most famous for his recordings from the late 1930s until the mid-1950s, though his career continued through the 1990s.

In an era in which it was exceptional for a singer to write their  own material, Trenet wrote prolifically and declined to record any but his own songs.

His best known songs include “Boum !”, “La Mer”, “Y’a d’la joie”, “Que reste-t-il de nos amours ?”, “Ménilmontant” and “Douce France”. His catalogue of songs is enormous, numbering close to a thousand.

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Almanac – September 28

The ghost of Walter Ralegh is said to walk in the gardens of his former home, Sherborne Castle, Dorset, on this day.

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551 BC – Some say this was the date of the birth of Confucius.

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935 – Wenceslaus I, Duke of Bohemia died.  purportedly assassinated  in a plot by his own brother, Boleslav the Cruel.
He’s the “Good King Wenceslaus” of the carol.

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1066 – William the Bastard’s  army lands in  England,  beginning the Norman Conquest.

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1745 – That appalling dirge the British National Anthem had its first public performance, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, in the wake of the defeat of the Jacobites at the Battle of Prestonpans. Which is why the original version had this verse-

Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King.

Its been omitted from the current version, we dont crush Scots no more.

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1791 – France  becomes the first European country to emancipate its Jewish population.

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1836 – Thomas Crapper born. English plumber who founded Thomas Crapper & Co in London. Contrary to widespread misconceptions, Crapper did not invent the flush toilet. He did, however, do much to increase its  popularity, and developed some important related inventions, such as the ballcock.

It has often been claimed that the slang term for human bodily waste – crap –  originated with  Crapper,  the most common version of this story being that American servicemen stationed in England during World War I saw his name on cisterns and used it as army slang, i.e., “I’m going to the crapper”.

However, the word is actually of Middle English origin; and  predates its application to bodily waste. Its first application in that particular field, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, appeared in 1846 under a reference to a crapping ken, or a privy ( ken means a house).

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1928 – The U.K. Parliament passes the Dangerous Drugs Act outlawing cannabis.

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1934 – Brigitte Bardot born. French fashion model, actress, singer and animal rights activist. She was one of the best-known sex symbols of the 1960s, and in  1969 her features became the official face of Marianne (who had previously been anonymous) to represent the liberty of France.  (Marianne is a national emblem of France and an allegory of Liberty and Reason.)

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1964 – Harpo Marx died.  Second-oldest of the Marx Brothers.

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1966 – André Breton died. French writer and poet, known best as the founder of Surrealism. His writings include the first Surrealist Manifesto (Manifeste du surréalisme) of 1924, in which he defined surrealism as “pure psychic automatism”.

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1971 – The Parliament of the United Kingdom passes the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 banning the medicinal use of cannabis.

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1991 – Miles Davis died.

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