Dali  - untitled
One of the difficulties in writing about the modern isms is that their practitioners wrote so much about themselves. But there's no reason that should stop us. They certainly didn't exhaust the subject, and what they did write was frequently disingenuous. They often had their own political and social agendas.
They also may have been off-base in their analyses of their own art. Many great artists were notoriously unintellectual, and some seemed to have so little knowledge of their true place in the art world that their comments were bizarre.

After that warning, let's try to define surrealism as:
A superstylistic movement in the representational arts characterized by sharp delineation and precise depiction of detail, and by distortions of context (Magritte, Escher, Borges) and of basic natural features (Dali, Marquez). Most artists belong to both groups. The intention seems to be to produce a heightened perceptual awareness of reality as a whole, and thus a heightened emotional awareness, by the juxtaposition of the superreal and the impossible. The practitioners tend to social criticism. Though the movement seems to have originated in painting, where it was strongly influenced by cubism, it seems more directly derived from French poetry, and to derive penultimately from Baudelaire's theory of correspondences. In some cases (Ellison, Kundera), the form seems more the result of intense social experience than of artistic influence, the artistic counterpart of the psychogenic hallucination.

Spaces, not commas, please!