Lot n° 50
2000 - 2500
COCTEAU JEAN (1889-1963).
Autograph MANUSCRIT, [La Maison hantée, 1937]; 35 pages in-4, in a spiral notebook and in sheets.
Complete manuscript of this impromptu for the Comédie-Française.
Cocteau wrote this short play in verse and prose for the farewell performance of ALBERT-LAMBERT (1865-1941), a member of the Comédie-Française from 1891 to 1935, who had been its dean. It was given on June 25, 1937, but Cocteau, disappointed by the actors' performance, kept the play in his boxes; it was not published until 1985 in issue 10 of the Cahiers Jean Cocteau, and collected in 2003 in the Théâtre complet de la Bibliothèque de la Pléiade.
The play features the great heroines of the theater who each invoke the ghost of their male hero (all roles played by Albert-Lambert); at the end, the ghost of Alceste appears, that is to say Albert-Lambert, happy to be no longer a ghost by leaving this haunted house.
The manuscript in verse, of first draft, abundantly crossed out and corrected, is written on 13 sheets of a grey-covered sketchbook of the brand La Reliure
Spirale (27 x 21 cm), mainly in black ink and on the front, with corrections and additions in pencil, two of which are developed on the facing pages. Between the 4th and 5th pages, Cocteau added 19 loose-leaf pages
(21 x 18 cm), in black ink, where he wrote the seven prose tirades of the heroines, successively Agrippina, Jocasta, Phaedra, Chimene, Doña Sol, the Shrew, and Célimene.
A full-page pencil drawing appears on the last page of the book. It is titled "Messenger" and represents an athletic young man, his muscles surrounded by bands, his head crowned with laurels.
Provenance : Carole WEISWEILLER.
Attached : - 2 P.A., 1942 (9 p. in-fol. partly printed on the letterhead of the National Conservatory of Music and Dramatic Art. Semester exams 1942. Dramatic Art). Two pre-printed sheets for the jurors of the 1942 competition for the Conservatoire's acting students, with Jean Cocteau's autograph remarks in pencil. Among the young actors judged by Cocteau, there are many names that would later become famous: Claude Nollier, Daniel Gélin, Daniel Ivernel, Alice Sapritch, Jean Desailly, Louise Conte, Jacques
Dacqmine, Sophie Desmarets, Maria
Casarès ("Sense of verse - not a physical tragedy (body) - the voice hangs on - for tragedy well"), etc. With a l.a.s. from Claude DELVINCOURT, Director of the Conservatoire, June 7, 1942. - L.A.S. "Jean Cocteau", [1938?], to a playwright friend [Charles de Peyret-Chappuis?] (1 p. in-4 at the address 37, rue Cambon). Interesting letter on theater and staging: "You unfold three acts (the last of which is a very beautiful act.) [...]
You will win the battle. The battle against the old habits of the gang and the Cartel. [...]
You must kill the staging that crushes the texts and the Trébor-Sacha-Printemps gang"...
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