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Anthology of Black Humor cover

Anthology of Black Humor

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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", 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 ). 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. 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.
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