Tristan Tzara

A Romanian by birth, poet and playwright Tristan Tzara, b. Apr. 4, 1896, d. Dec. 25, 1963, is known principally as the founder of the DADA movement, which, together with Richard Hulsenbeck and Hugo Ball, he organized in Zurich in 1916. Tzara moved to Paris in 1919. He broke with Andre Breton, Louis Aragon, and other members of the movement in 1923 when they turned to surrealism; after the mid-1930s, when Tzara joined the French Communist party, the tone of his own writing changed noticeably. At his death, however, Tzara left essays on art in which he claimed that he had always been a Dadaist. His early works--including the plays La premiere aventure celeste de M. Antipyrine (The First Celestial Adventure of Mr. Aspirin, 1916) and La coeur a gaz (The Gas Heart, 1923) and the epic poem The Approximate Man (1931; Eng. trans., 1973)--indicate by their titles something of the irrational playfulness of Dadaism.



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