Lot n° 37
400 - 500
Result with fees
COCTEAU JEAN (1889-1963).
2 L.A.S. "Jean", 1956-1959, to his neighbor Emmanuel BERL; 2 pages in-4 very full, envelope, and 1 page and a quarter in-4.
Palais-Royal January 20, 1956.Long letter on the French Academy and the candidacy of the historian Jacques Chastenet. Numerous incises and comments are added in the margin, or head to tail, all around the letter.
"I don't know yet if I will receive CHASTENET under the academic dome but I will receive him under yours (since you have a ceiling on my head in the Palais Royal) and I will receive him against the grain of my love of deep exactitude. I do not reproach him with anything as far as I am concerned, except for a dedication that is contradicted by the texts (his Fallières). Once again my long crusade against the intellectualism from which France is dying is taken for grace and somersaults. This leads to a clod of commonplaces on the right and on the left [...] The academy was the only possible place of asylum for me. [...] I reproach your friend for painting only the top. On the other hand I prefer the historians and the dukes and the ambassadors to the dunces of contemporary literature"... He notes this quatrain: " Who chaste is born/Sometimes the remainder/S'il ne sa veste/Nous retournait. In short books too chaste. Not to confuse with too pure books"... He recommends not to show this letter: "The bomb of my diary must burst only after my death. The earth is a bad joke and the space-time a lie of which we are the dupes. But if we do not commit suicide, we must try to take this farce seriously. I look around for a man who, without being fooled, would do justice under an oak tree. It is probable that the only historians worthy of the name in France are Michelet and Alexandre Dumas"... Etc.
June 17, 1959. About the refusal of a poem by the magazine Réalités. "Very dear Emmanuel Things happened as expected. Back to the sender with a slice of honey - "This magnificent poem would surprise our public" etc. "Couldn't you write 4-5 pages..." etc. No. You had to put this poem and its cap on top - like an illumination. I had held out the perch, they took it. I was, alas, certain of it. Sad time"... He adds on the back: "I am told that Réalités speaks of me as a talented jack-of-all-trades (sic). Before it was a genius jack-of-all-trades. I went down in rank".
Return to catalogue