Anthology of Black Humor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Anthology of Black Humor
Cover art for the book Anthology of Black Humor by Andre Breton.jpg
First edition
EditorAndré Breton
Original titleAnthologie de l'humour noir
TranslatorMark Polizzotti (1997)
Published1940, 1947,1966 (Éditions du Sagittaire) January 1, 2001 (City Lights Publishers)
Media typePrint (paperback)
Pages356 pp (English edition)
LC ClassAC

The Anthology of Black Humor (French: Anthologie de l'humour noir) is an anthology of 45 writers edited by André Breton. It was first published in 1940 in Paris by Éditions du Sagittaire and its distribution was immediately banned by the Vichy government. It was reprinted in 1947 after Breton's return from exile, with a few additions. In 1966, Breton, "having resisted the temptation to add more names",[1] published the book again and called this edition "the definitive".

The anthology not only introduced some until then almost unknown or forgotten writers, it also coined the term "black humor" (as Breton said, until then the term had meant nothing, unless someone imagined jokes about black people [1]). The term became globally used since then. The choice of authors was done entirely by Breton and according to his taste which he explains in the Foreword (called The Lightning Rod, a term suggested by Lichtenberg), a work of great depth (Breton was the main theoretician of the Surrealist movement) that starts with contemplating Rimbaud´s words "Emanations, explosions." from Rimbaud's last poem The barrack-room of night : Dream.[2] The authors, each introduced by a preface by Breton and represented by a few pages from their writings, are sorted chronologically. The book is still in print. It was translated into several languages; into English by Mark Polizzotti in 1997.

Contents of the 1966 "definitive" edition[edit]

The anthology contains the following excerpts, each introduced by a commentary by Breton:

Others works excerpted include: Louis Aragon's 1928 Treatise on Style. Freud's 1928 Humor from International Journal of Psychoanalysis 9 1-6 (republished in Collected papers of Sigmung Freud vol.5).


  1. ^ a b Breton, André. Anthology of Black Humor. p. 7.
  2. ^ Arthur Rimbaud - Derniers Vers : La Chambrée de Nuit
  3. ^ Lezard, Nicholas (21 February 2009). "From the sublime to the surreal". The Guardian. London.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-11-24. Retrieved 2010-11-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]