Magritte - The Surprise Answer
Let's try another stab at Surrealism.

In the first Surrealist Manifesto, André Breton gives one some good excuses for using Baudelaire as the starting block in the history of Surrealism. In the Second, Breton's protests against any historical approach to Surrealism, and especially against Baudelaire, are so loud that one's almost obligated to start from there.

Baudelaire was not only the beginning and (almost) the end of Twentieth-Century thought; he was also the beginning of most of the Twentieth-Century dead ends.
Baudelaire allowed - unwillingly, it would seem - the external world to enter and overwhelm his feelings. Which caused what a certain unconscious prophet called 'the loss of the borders of the ego'. In English: the borders between his own self and the outside world became unclear to him. If not irrelevant.
The Symbolists got everything almost exactly right. Except for one small detail. They got it backwards. The outside world wasn't entering their feelings: They were pasting images of their feelings onto images of the outside world. They realized that they couldn't get away with so much confusion of feeling unless it was controlled by great precision, as Baudelaire controlled it; they had the precision, but they didn't have Baudelaire's vocabulary, or wide knowledge of other cultures.
The Surrealists, both in the verbal and the visual arts, also understood the need for precision. Like the Symbolists, their cultural world was much narrower than Baudelaire's. So was their emotional world. Breton yells and screams about the artist's ignoring his relationship to society. 'Be authentic!' Yet everything the Surrealists did was calculated to make an impression. Baudelaire never mentions a need to ignore the society around him. He would have been happy to cater to it and fit in with it. If he had been capable of seeing it.

In spite of all this, I like Magritte. Even if he has been called the most trite of the Surrealists.
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