A revelation can be born of a sudden, when one least expects it, and also can be stimulated by the sight of something--a building, a street, a garden, a square, etc. In the first instance it belongs to a class of strange sensations which I have observed in only one man: Nietzsche. When Nietzsche talks of how Zarathustra was conceived, and says: "I was surprised by Zarathustra," in this participle--surprised, is contained the whole enigma of sudden revelation.--When [on the other hand] a revelation grows out of the sight of an arrangement of objects, then the work which appears in our thoughts is closely linked with the circumstance that has provoked its birth. One resembles the other, but in a very strange way, like the resemblance there is between two brothers, or rather between the image of someone we know seen in a dream, and that person in reality; it is, and at the same time it is not, the same person; it is as if there had been a slight and mysterious transfiguration of the features. I believe and have faith that, from certain points of view, the sight of someone in a dream is proof of his metaphysical reality--in certain accidental occurrences that sometimes happen to us; in the manner and the arrangement that things appear to us and awaken in us unknown sensations of joy and surprise: the sensations of revelation.
1 Manuscript from the collection of Paul Éluard, First Part, § V. In: Hebdomeros.