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Robert Desnos (Paris, July 4, 1900 – Theresienstadt concentration camp, June 8, 1945) was a French surrealist poet and a member of the French Resistance during the Second World War .
Robert Pierre Desnos was born in Paris in the year of 1900. He left his studies at the age of 16 to start working in a pharmacy, at the same time that he began to show interest during his adolescence through dreams, writing down carefully Years that seemed significant to him, as he recorded years later.
His first poems, inspired by the French symbolists and by Apollinaire, were published in 1918 in La Tribune des jeunes (The Tribune of the Young), a Parisian socialist magazine. In 1919, he met the poet Benjamin Péret, who introduced him to the Dadaist group in Paris and introduced him to the also poet André Breton. That same year, Desnos participated in the avant-garde magazine Le Trait d’union (The Screenplay). While working as a columnist for the Paris-Soir newspaper, Desnos became an active member of the Surrealist group, developing a special talent for automatic writing and hypnotic dreaming. Breton, once separated from the Dadaist movement, praised him in his Manifeste du surréalisme (Manifesto of Surrealism, 1924) claiming that he was the “prophet” of the movement and that he “spoke surrealist at will.” Despite his surrealist militancy, Desnos He did not give up his job as a journalist. Soon there were serious discrepancies between Desnos and Breton on this and other matters, such as the validity or otherwise of the classical verse, strophic and rhymed (what Breton called, with contempt, “the fixed forms”, surpassed, in his opinion). , from the work of Rimbaud).
Desnos fell in love with music hall singer Yvonne George (1896-1930), but fans of it made her an impossible love. He wrote several works dedicated to his lover, among them the poetry books À la mystérieuse (A la misteriosa, 1926) and Les Ténèbres (Las diasielas, 1927), as well as the story La Liberté ou l’Amour! (Freedom or Love !, 1927) and Journal d’une apparition (Diary of an apparition, 1927).
In 1929, Breton definitively condemned Desnos, who had joined the Documents magazine, the writer Georges Bataille, and who was one of those who signed Un cadavre, a writing that attacked the “Breton ox”. His career in radio began in 1932 with a show dedicated to the fictional character Fantômas. During that time, he became friends with Picasso, Hemingway, Artaud and John Dos Passos; He published several critics on jazz and cinema, at the same time that his participation in political matters increased.
In 1930, he published The Night of Loveless Nights, a lyrical poem about loneliness, written in a classic style, more like that of Baudelaire than Breton, and Corps et biens (Bodies and goods), which collects some of his previous poems. The use of measured verse and rhyme in the works of this time make him, in the eyes of surrealist orthodoxy, a “putrefied.” The influence of François Villon, Gérard de Nerval and Luis de Gongora is influenced by the Breton magisterium. , whose poetic technique admires Desnos.
During the Second World War, Desnos was an active member of the French Resistance, often publishing under a pseudonym, and was arrested by the Gestapo on February 22, 1944. He was deported to Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Flossenbürg and finally Terezín in Czechoslovakia in 1945. There he died of typhoid weeks after the camp was freed.He is buried in the Parisian Montparnasse Cemetery.
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