Paul Éluard And The Surrealist Movement

Paul Éluard was the founder of the surrealist movement, and a master of French poetry. His poems against war are masterpieces, just like his love poems.
Paul Éluard and the Surrealist Movement

Paul Éluard is one of the most important poets in the surrealist movement. He had a strong, literary presence. He knew how to express himself, and his sentimentalism made him one of the most universally known poets. He wrote about love, freedom and war  with his characteristic passion.

As with many other great poets, Éluard’s success lay in his emotional and intellectual honesty, which he laid in his poems. His verse has a discreet and deep authenticity. Éluard’s life had its ups and downs, but he was creative and intelligent  enough to overcome the difficult things he experienced. His existence was as eloquent as he was.

old photo by Paul Éluard

Paul Éluard: The frail boy

Paul Éluard was born on December 14, 1885 in France. He came from the very proletarian district of Saint-Denis in France. When he was 12 years old, Éluard was enrolled at the Lycée Colbert. However, when he was 16 years old,  he got tuberculosis  and he had to drop out and spend a long time recovering in Switzerland.

During this time, he began reading Whitman, Baudelaire, Nerval, Rimbaud, Hölderin, and Lautréamont. His first work, Premiers Po è mes was published in 1913. After recovering, he was called up and sent to serve in World War I in 1915.

Paul Éluard  could write anywhere and under any circumstances. In the middle of the war, Éluard wrote two of his most famous works:   Le Devoir  (1916) and Le Devoir et l’Inquiétude  (1917). In 1917, his division was attacked with gas, affecting his lungs. Éluard was then sent to Paris.

Musen Gala

During his second stay in Paris, Éluard was reunited with a woman he had met once before, Elena Ivanovna Diakonova,  better known as Gala. They were married in 1917.

Gala, however, was a free soul, and she fell incredibly in love with Max Ernst when she met him. Éluard did not oppose this affair. The three actually end up living together.

Not long after, Gala met the love of her life: Salvador Dalí. As a result, her marriage to Paul Éluard ended in 1929, leaving the poet very heartbroken. Nevertheless, Éluard decided to travel the world. It helped him write beautiful poems.

picture of Éluard

An indomitable man

Paul Éluard married twice more. He married a woman called “Nusch”, who was Picasso’s model. They married in 1934. However, she died in 1951. Subsequently, he married Dominique. This marriage ended when the poet died. 

Through all this, Paul Éluard became the voice of freedom. He joined the Communist Party, writing about peace, freedom and justice. During World War II, his works were inspired by the resistance movement. It forced him to hide.

His poems against war are masterpieces, just like his love poems. A characteristic feature was his ability to express emotions and pinch. Paul Éluard was, with certainty, a master of French poetry.

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