The Automatic Method: A Study in Pure Psychic Automatism
Dodge, P. Alexander
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Since the death of Andre Breton and the subsequent demise of the surrealist group in the nineteen-sixties, experiments in automatic writing have virtually ceased. Today surrealism is viewed as a movement in the visual arts first, and in literature second. The groundbreaking work of surrealist writers, which included the development of automatism as a literary art form, is virtually ignored in modem academia and in popular culture. The present study seeks to explore the surrealist automatic method as a form of literature by developing a history and theory of automatism, and by first hand experiments with the method itself. This study models itself after an experiment in the social sciences, and will consist of five sections: a hypothesis, a literature review, a methods section, a results section, and a conclusion. The hypothesis states my initial beliefs about and plans for the automatic method as it pertains to my project. The literature review examines the history and theory of automatism in detail. It explores automatism from its beginnings and examines the function and meaning of automatic writing. The methods section details exactly how I created my own automatic texts, while the results section reproduces some of those texts and provides explanations of their meaning as it pertains to the experiment. Finally, my conclusion explores the findings of the experiment and their support or refutation of my hypothesis.