Pierre Naville  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Pierre Naville (Paris, 1904Paris, 1993) was a French writer and sociologist. Pierre Naville was a prominent member of the 'Investigating Sex' group of Surrealist thinkers. He was most prominently concerned with passing insincere apologia.

He was a Surrealist, a Communist and then a Trotskyist before joining the PSU, leading a career as an occupational sociologist.


Surrealist from its earliest times

In 1922 he founded the avant-garde periodical l'Œuf dur together with Philippe Soupault, F. Gérard, Max Jacob, Louis Aragon and Blaise Cendrars.

He was codirector with Benjamin Péret for the three first numbers of La Révolution Surréaliste, founded the Bureau de Recherches Surréalistes (1924) and participated in surrealist activities with André Breton before eventually opposing surrealism because of his political divergences.

Extreme-left Politics

In 1926, he belonged to the French Communist Party where he managed the publication Clarté. He was part of a delegation which visited Leon Trotsky in Moscow in 1927. He returned convinced by Trotsky's arguments and was excluded from the Communist Party in 1928 for deviationism.

From this point onwards he participated in the life of the French Trotskyist extreme left and notably its publications. He became less and less convinced by Trotsky's position and broke with the group in 1939.

He then organised attempts to create a Marxist left, devoid of Communist and Trotskyist trappings, whose publication was called Revue Internationale.

Initially passing through the PSU, he continued to search for a modern left in the PSG then the UGS before taking part in the reestablishment of the Parti Socialiste Unifié (PSU) under the Fifth Republic.

He remained faithful to this group in spite of his opposition to the "realists" (Gilles Martinet, Michel Rocard) and showed total rejection of François Mitterrand.

Psycho-Sociology of Work

Named director of research at the CNRS in 1947, he worked with Georges Friedmann at the Centre d'études sociologiques, dedicating his work to the psycho-sociology of work and the study of: automation, industrial society, psychology of comportment and to the strategists and theoreticians of the war, notably Carl von Clausewitz. He supervised the translation and publication of the Complete Works of von Clausewitz.



  • Les Reines de la main gauche, 1924




  • Memoirs (Le Temps du surréel, 1977)

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