Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki, is known for eventually shortening his name to Guillaume Apollinaire and coining the term Surrealism in 1903. Surrealism as a style started kicking and tumbling about a bit later though. During the violent and confusing period of WWII artists expressed the painful confusion of that age via Dada: anti-art. Later Andre Breton and Phillipe Soupault, two Dadaists, joined together in molding a philosophy secured on the zig-zaggy, horizontal pillars of Surrealism- the idea that though believable depiction is important, an artist's imagination is at liberty in the arrangement of these realistic renderings. In other words the elephant should be drawn so convincingly conversing with a bee on the topic of Freudian influences on Surrealism via analyses of dreams and the unconscious, that you would think that this meeting actually occurred. Just as the fantasy depicted in Surreal art is expected to be technically believable so is the message in the art, though delivered idiosyncratically through a series of juxtapositions, aught to be decently evolved. Surrealism was not intended to be entirely void of meaning as its predecessor Dada had been.
The 1930s are considered to be the Golden Age of Surrealism, with painters Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte at large. Surrealism however, is not limited to paintings, as the style spans across most fine arts: poetry, theater, film and music, and even dwells into politics, but I would not consider that a very fine art. Some find that the emotionally improvisational nature of Jazz and Blues music fit well into the style of Surrealism and there actually were some Surreal Jazz performances, such as one by David (Honeyboy) Edwards.
One of the main goals of Surrealism is to combine elements that have never been properly introduced to one another before (the elephant and the bee), in an effort to trigger new connections in the mind of the viewer. For me, being the mediator between juxtaposing, conflicting ideas is the most wonderful part of Surrealism. I love to experiment with the scale of various objects and imagine the pink elephant in the room being transported into a turquoise beehive. Surrealism allows one to use the mind as a chunk of clay that is malleable enough to fit into the strangest cookie cutters but strong enough to remain in that shape thus carrying out the idea perfectly.
The roots of surrealism are of course in the aforementioned hands of Brenton (the hands were not mentioned, but implied as they were part of him) in terms of style, however ultimately the roots of surrealism are in one's head. And by one I mean anyone. Those thoughts that one (and by one I mean you and me) tends to casually brush off and pick carefully out of the comb to throw away, are the roots. What possibilities would open if these thoughts weren't thrown away though... think of all the tiny, pink elephants!
Think of the bees.
Some of the sources I used in the research:
Thomas Pynchon (1984) Slow Learner, p.20
Breton (1924) Manifesto of Surrealism. Comment published in his journal Nord-Sud, March 1918