By the mid-1920s, Aragon and Breton had turned their attention to surrealism. Aragon’s Le Mouvement perpétuel, poèmes (1920–1924) (Perpetual Motion: Poems [1920–1924]) was a manifesto and poetics of the new movement. In the work Le Con d'Irène (1928), Aragon spoke to the influence of automatic writing: “What I am thinking naturally expresses itself. Everyone's language differs each from each. I for example do not think without writing, which is to say that writing is my method of thinking.” In 1928, Aragon also met Elsa Triolet, the sister-in-law of Vladimir Mayakovsky. Aragon and Triolet fell in love and remained committed to one another—and increasingly, radical politics—for the rest of their lives. Triolet’s commitment to communism strengthened Aragon’s, and he began his series Le Monde reel, a surrealist political work that uses social realism to attack bourgeois literary and cultural norms. The books that comprise the series are frequently seen as forerunners of the nouveau roman movement in French literature of the 1960s. Aragon was drafted into World War II and again won commendation for his bravery, including leading a daring escape of 30 men from German forces. Demobilized by 1940, Aragon worked for the resistance, writing pamphlets, editorials, and poetry.
After the war, Aragon wrote a number of nonfictional studies, monographs, translations, and books on history, politics, art, and culture. In all, he would publish more than 100 books during his lifetime, as well as several posthumous volumes. He was one of the most important writers in post-war France, and his spirit as well as his writing did much to shape the intellectual landscape. He continued to write prolifically until his death in 1982.