Nadja is a semi-autobiographical, surrealist novel by André BretonFrench writer originally written in August 1927 and published in 1928. In 1963 appeared a reprint, in which Breton in particular some illustrations and some sort of afterword added. The Dutch translation of this last edition, by Laurens Vancrevel and Renée de Jong-Belinfante, appeared in 1973.


[hide]*1 content, design and interpretation

Content, design and interpretation[Edit]Edit

Nadja is shown as Breton attempt to describe surrealism as way of life. The novel has its roots in terms of events always be explicitly stated in the (everyday) reality but remains a little float between dream and reality, between life and art. Throughout the book, all for surrealism typical themes: an urge to shock times, desire, the fantastic, the impossible, magic, infinite freedom, rejecting the logical reason that would resolve all the unknown to the known.

In terms of building is Nadja intact as a kind of collage, jumping from one point to another. This effect is enhanced by the use of 44 illustrations in the book: most photos (including Jacques-André Boiffard 's street scenes and portraits of Man Ray), but also reproductions of works of art (for example, from scenes of Juan Gris and Max Ernst) and drawings of Nadja and Breton himself.

The book is 165 pages thick and consists of three parts:

First part[Edit]Edit

The first part has a non-linear structure and opens with the famous sentence who am I? Then displays the I-Narrator, André called, a number of principles and theories of surrealism, partly using the process of theécriture automatique: on associative way he describes daily events, trivial thoughts, absurd ideas (Walter Benjamin once called the book "a warehouse of profane ideas"). So trying on plastic mode the ideas of surrealism to catch again.

Quote: I have always longed at night in a forest to encounter a beautiful naked woman, or rather, as such a desire once it is pronounced nothing more means, I find it incredible pity that I have come across her. Such a meeting is to assume everything not as insanely: it could be. It seems to me that everything would suddenly stand still, heck, I would not have come to write what I now write. I'm delighted by such a situation, in which the me of all situations probably would have the most failed to presence of mind. I even believe that I would have had the presence of mind not to flee (who that last laughs is a pig).

Second part[Edit]Edit

The second part of Nadja is written in the form of a retrospective journal and thus more linear in structure, narrative in nature. André describes his short obsessive relationship (ten days) with the character Nadja, which he on any given day on the street. He is immediately captivated by her eyes. Nadja proves to be a controversial and contradictory character: now even modern, then again conventional, one time authentic, another moment strikingly artificial, sometimes clear thinking, often also mentally confused. André draws her out as some sort of appearance. He is particularly fascinated by her life's vision, which according to the writer the compulsive, tight daily rhythms completely upside down and who manifests during conversations they have with each other about art, in particular on surrealism, including the work of Breton itself. If Nadja later also extended talks about her own life takes some kind of demystification place and realizes that he is her relationship with her André can no longer continue (later also shows that they are psychologically ill and is in a facility included).

Quote: However, I have the whole evening I worry much about Nadja, accused myself for today have made no appointment with her. I am not satisfied with myself. I have a feeling that I observe her too much, but how else can I? How she sees me, what she finds me? It is inexcusable from me to meet her if not her love. Have I not love her? While I am close to her, I am closer to the things that are in its proximity. In the condition in which they could not otherwise or they will need me in one way or another, suddenly. What they ask me, it would be horrible to refuse the hair ".

Third part[Edit]Edit

The third part of Nadja 's only added to the novel by André Breton in 1963 and has the character of a kind of reflective afterword. The Narrator notes that in his relationship with André Nadja a kind of depth in their relationship must have been that has transcended the conscious and rational: from a kind of waking dream logic he recalls Nadja as a ' experience of reality itself '. So is he eventually hit a short period to briefly at the impossible, the unique, the mysterious, the exciting, in short: what is essential: "what would I be without you start with that love for the genius in me that I always have felt, in the name of which I have been able to test some recognitions here and there? The genius: I am imagining me to know where it is, almost in which it exists and I felt that it was able to bind all the great passions. I believe blindly to the genius of you ". At the same time, he finds Nadja also kind of impermeability and sort of ' veiled ' absence: eventually you come at the most, very even, very close to.

The novel ends with the winged words: "The beauty will convulsant, or they will not be".


  • In 2009 he published by the Dutch writer Hester Albach a book about Nadja. Research has discovered in France by meticulously Albach who Nadja was: Ina Delcourt. From there, the title of her book (in French): Monkey, heroin du surréalisme.
  • Nadja was on place 50 elected in Le Mondes 100 books of the century.