Robert Desnos, the son of a café owner, was born on July 4, 1900, in Paris.
He attended commercial college, and then worked as a clerk before becoming a literary columnist for the newspaper Paris-Soir.
He first published poems in the Dadaist magazine Littérature in 1919, and in 1922 he published his first book, Prose Selavy, a collection of surrealistic aphorisms. While on leave in Morocco from his mandatory two years in the French Army, Desnos befriended poet Andre Breton. Together with writers Louis Aragon and Paul Eluard, Breton and Desnos would form the vanguard of literary surrealism.
They practiced a technique known...