Kuvittelu ja kielen alkemia – surrealismin kielellinen mielikuvitus

Imagination and the alchemy of the verb. The verbal imagination of surrealism

In English, as in many other European languages, the word for imagination is etymologically related to the word "image". Imagination is metaphorically conceived as seeing pictures, images in the mind. Verbal forms of imaginary creation are often seen as verbal transcripts or descriptions of these images. There is, however, a tradition which links imagination directly with language. This is the tradition related to Rimbaud's alchemy of the verb, alchemie du verbe. This tradition culminates in the surrealistic theory of poetic images (and that of André Breton especially). In this tradition, verbal imagination is seen as combinatory imagination, which attempts to combine words in unusual ways in order to produce surprising encounters. These encounters are not supposed to be meaningless. Instead, the unusual use of language is a way of returning to the source of meaning, or, to use Maurice Merleau-Ponty's terminology, to the "speaking language" (langage parlant), as opposed to the routine and banal "spoken language" (langage parlé). Breton regards verbal imagination as primary: visual images are merely secondary accompaniments of the automatic verbal dicté. The metaphorical way of seeing the world that results from such poetic use of language reminds one of a premodern vision which considered the world a network of analogies and correspondences. However, in surrealist universe there is not a transcendent world (beyond this world), which would give a codified meaning to coincidences and encounters. This absence of transcendence gives free reign to the analogical imagination, which, according to Breton, is able to see any object metaphorically as any other, and consequently to create the world anew.

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