- Written by Peter Burnett Peter Burnett
Realists polish their lenses to capture the multifarious aspects of the external world. They pride themselves upon the soundness and the sanity of their vision. Realist writers never doubt the totality of the objective world.
But there are others! These writers are not so well appreciated, it is true, but they cultivate the inner vision, abandon the paved highway of standardised points of view, brave the quick-sands of non-conformity, and seek their own path through the quagmires of subjectivity.
For artists of this type, no less than seers and poets, no less than the endgenitors of Marcel Duchamp, the external world provides no more than the symbols and alphabets of communication, and the field into which they may project their visions.
I have applied this to my creative writing with disastrous results. Sales of my novels have reflected this. The further along the realist scale I travel, the more books I sell. The more I travel towards the invisible world, the further sales drop away into a blackness of poor comprehension, and the more distant is the ringing of the platinum cash-tills.
To this end my books do not require readers so much as viewers.
La cause surrealiste, dans l'art comme dans la vie, est la cause merae de la liberte. Aujourd'hui, plus que jamais, se reclamer abstraitement de la liberte ou la celebrer en termes conventionnels c'est mal la servir. Pour eclairer le monde la liberte doit se faire chair et pour cela se refleter et se recreer sans cesse dans le Verbe.
The surrealist cause, in art as in life, is the cause of freedom itself. Today more than ever to speak abstractly in the name of freedom or to praise it in empty terms is to serve it ill. To light the world freedom must become flesh and to this end must always be reflected and recreated in the word.
I can barely agree with Andre Breton although we never stop talking about freedom. Breton seems to be suggesting that realism is not a free form of expression, and he may be right insofar as the many realist anchors fictionalists contrive to amuse readers are crippling their imaginations.
Great books, I expect, attempt to work this balance between the real and the surreal, in order to satisfy EVERYBODY.