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Leon Trotsky 19381027 Letter to Andre Breton

Leon Trotsky: Letter to Andre Breton

October 27, 1938

[Writings of Leon Trotsky, Vol 11, 1938-1938, New York ²1974, p. 93]

Dear Comrade Breton,

The purpose of this letter is to clarify a point which could give rise to deplorable misunderstandings. In one of my letters to Partisan Review I advise having a critical, expectant, and . . . "eclectic" attitude toward the different artistic tendencies. The last will seem strange to you, because generally I am hardly the partisan of eclecticism. But it is worth discerning the sense of this counsel. Partisan Review is not the review of an artistic school. It is a Marxist review devoted to the problems of art. It must maintain toward the different artistic schools a critical and friendly attitude. But each artistic school must be faithful to itself. That is why it would be absurd to propose, for example, to the surrealists, the advice that they become eclectic. Each artistic tendency has the absolute right to dispose of itself. This is, moreover, the sense of your manifesto.

My best regards, Leon Trotsky