Tristan Tzara

Born 1896, Moinesti, Romania; died December 1963, Paris, France. Romanian-born French poet and essayist known mainly as a founder of Dada with Hugo Ball, Richard Huelsenbeck and others.

Tzara wrote the first Dada texts - La Premiére Aventure cèleste de Monsieur Antipyrine (1916; "The First Heavenly Adventure of Mr. Antipyrine") and Vingt-cinq poémes (1918; "Twenty-Five Poems") - and the movement's manifestos, Sept manifestes Dada (1924; "Seven Dada Manifestos"). In Paris he engaged in tumultuous activities with André Breton, Philippe Soupault, and Louis Aragon to shock the public and to disintegrate the structures of language.

Around 1930, weary of nihilism and destruction, he joined his friends in the more constructive activities of Surrealism. He devoted much of his time to the reconciliation of Surrealism and Marxism and joined the Communist Party in 1936 and the French Resistance movement during World War II.

Manifestos by Tristan Tzara: