In literature and the arts, France was once again the major propulsion center of avant-garde trends. On the threshold of the Second World War and during the war years, the dissolution of surrealism, existential inflation, the strengthening of Marxism and Catholicism that polarize their ideal tension, while there is no lack of those who feel that their mutual integration is necessary.. Only the great tradition of liberal-democratic thought languishes.
The final parable of surrealism is instructive. Surrealism has set itself as a total expression of life by abolishing, at least in the program, any intentionality of poetics and of school, but with the systematic polemical destruction of the reality of its own content it has naturally ended up destroying itself, resulting in a practical act which is no more surrealistic than it is romantic or symbolistic. Most of the time this meant the abjuration, as in the Marxist orthodoxy of L. Aragon and P. Èluard, and the defections far exceeded the new adhesions.
Thus some appearances, such as those of A. Artaud, France Picabia, J. Baron, P. Naville, R. Vitrac, R. Desnos, G. Ribemont-Dessaignes, S. Dali, Br. Péret, Ph. Soupault, of whose origins are full, disappear from 1926 to 1929. Others, such as R. Crevel and G. Rosey and the Belgians ELT Mezens and P. Nougé, importers of the trend in their country, limit themselves to a mechanical activity of echoing which is the only allowed to their substantial mediocrity. Still others such as T. Tzara and G . Hugnet and the young Maurice Nadeau, who is also the most recent historian of the movement, joined the ranks late, but some of them broke away shortly after; and there are also those who, like R. Queneau, do not fail to deny even recently his ancient apostasy. The negro Aimé Césaire gave surrealistic poetry the contribution of an intact sincerity of voice, rare in a disordered collection of ambitions. But the technique of the surreal, with its reduction of expression to automatic randomness and to a psychological-evocative practice that wants to ignore linguistic reasons, has left traces of extreme indifference, especially in the less gifted among those who have followed it. formal. For the best ones, on the other hand, including, not to mention Éluard, there is no lack of personalities of a certain importance (Ribemont-Dessaignes, P. Reverdy, J.
According to shoppingpicks, therefore, the date of 1938, the year in which a kind of international festival of surrealism was celebrated in Paris, by A. Breton, marks an achievement that is an end and not an embrace for the future. Breton today is left alone: and here is his sincerity. However, neither his constancy nor the nostalgia and resipiscence of those who have now traveled so many different paths, can restore the fate of an artistic and literary sedition that is definitively exhausted.
However, leaving aside the surrealist lyrics, the landscape of recent French poetry does not appear extraordinarily rich. P. Valérv, L. Fargue and M. Jacob died (neither of the latter two have achieved the prestige of masters), also extinguished the singular and solitary song of W. de Milosz, whose verbal music gave voice to a mystical-symbolist sensitivity and he presented a Nordic romanticist conception of life, in which Catholic preoccupation counterbalanced his exoticism as a scholar of Eastern civilizations; the older ones are now confined by Claudel to Supervielle in the academic function of repeating themselves; lightly patinated by time the inspiration already full of momentum of a Saint-John Perse, as it manifests itself in Exil(1942); no undisputed poetic personality has revealed itself in recent times. French opera seems to live on the heritage of a glorious past; hence, if the Belgian Henri Michaux of the generation that is now around 50 years old is also very active in these years and among the most indicative of a climate, for his turgid eloquence and discursive contempt that react both to symbolistic control and to the surrealistic abolition of the logical sense, the young forces remain for the most part, as has been said, in the context of a literary return that they do not fail to refer to, now to the esoteric vein that goes from Valéry to Mallarmé, making use of the various cultural contributions of both, to insist, in polite and pale tones and now démodés, on the effects of a concentration of images that the accurate stylistic refinement only manages to continually evade in an almost crepuscular degradation (Roland de Rénéville, Pius Servien, Jean Tardieu, Louis Emié), now, neglecting the surrealist immediacy, to an institutable derivation from the Parnassians to Claudel, through and the futurism of a Verhaeren, and Apollinaire, and Péguy. This will give a figure to the attempts of Jean Follain, Roger Lannes, the much discussed and dispersed Patrice de la Tour du Pin and the Catholic Jean Massin, a true imitator of Claudel in the Nuit de la Saint – Jean.
Attitudes repeat themselves, except that unmistakably new that is in every moment of reality, at a distance of generations and, if the last reading of Mallarmé and Valéry can give rise to a twilight outcome, to the reaction of the beginnings of the century against symbolist poeticism seems to be close to today’s revival, in the verse, of the unselected word, or if ever oriented in a slang sense, parallel to that gain of linguistic spatiality that makes certain narratives assume (F. Carco, L.-F. Céline, R. Queneau, Audiberti) a characteristic composite oratory. Thus, for example, in Léon Gabrile Gros, in Loys Masson, in the younger Pierre Emmanuel. With whom we have come to enunciate some of the most common names in the literature of “resistance”.
A true critical question of the literature of resistance does not exist since there was not, nor could it be, the rupture of a tradition, but simply a continuation or at most a call to individual and social ethical responsibility, neglected. in the exercise of the most external faculties. Documentaries, stories, dramas, verses, testimonies of life did not usually transcend the functionality of their origin and time has not hesitated to place them on the margins of literary interest. There remains the clarification of some still unknown or not very distinct vocation: d’Astier, Masson with his Chroniques de la Grande Nuit, the Poèmes impurs 1939 – 44 by Léon Moussinac, the 33 Sonnets secrets by Jean Cassou, and above all the religious and heroic ardor of Pierre Emmanuel da Orphique (1942) to La Liberté guide nos pas (1943), from Jour de colère to Colombe and to the Prière d’Abraham.