Lot n° 53
1000 - 1200
COCTEAU JEAN (1889-1963).
2 autographed POEMS, August 25, ; 1 page in-4 each on letterhead 36, rue de Montpensier.
Draft and cleanup of the poem on The Liberation of Paris.
This poem of 5 quatrains was published in Les Nouvelles littéraires of April 5, 1945, under the title 25 Août 1944 (issue of the newspaper enclosed)
The autograph draft, in black ink, shows numerous erasures and corrections, and hesitations on the title: "L'émeute du", "La nuit du 25".
The final draft, in black ink, presents two corrections.
"Lying trees made false green forests
And suddenly Paris at the end of its nerves
Illuminated its windows wide open
And the bells of Notre Dame des Victoires rang"...
We join the autograph MANUSCRIT of an interview, [Versailles May-June 1939]; 4 pages in-4 (typescript joined). On literary creation and writing about his upcoming play La Machine à écrire. [It was in May 1939, at the Hotel Vatel in Versailles, that Cocteau wrote the first version of La Machine à écrire; after the interruption of the war, and the elaboration of a new version in Perpignan in the summer of 1940, the play will be created on April 29, 1941]. This is a fictitious interview: "This week, in Versailles, where he was staying, several readings were given by Jean Cocteau of his new play La Machine à écrire. Nothing is known about this play, except that the central subject would be the famous affair of the anonymous letters from Tulle. When questioned, Jean Cocteau replied that his last play Les Parents terribles seemed to him more like the play of another that he should have written. He added that it was very rare to be able to introduce oneself fully into a work of theater, that is to say to introduce one's own atmosphere into it". Then he speaks directly: "It happened to me with Orpheus, play - Thomas the impostor, novel - Les Enfants terribles, novel. My other works are less mixed with my substance and for that I am only slightly responsible. For, in order to write, I try to put myself in a state of irresponsibility that leaves me little control. I believe, in fact, that the famous "automatic writing" does not only cause dreamy and bizarre results. Any work, worthy of the name, is in some way automatic writing. [...] This state of irresponsibility, of waking sleep, resembles (by far) the nitrous oxide sleep at the dentist. One finds oneself precipitated into an unknown motionless speed, into a kind of crescendo of mysterious nuances.
When you wake up, you remember this state but no other details. It is the same for the state of writing. I could not tell, then, why the lines and the plots follow one another. [...] inspiration is an expiration and the setting in motion of deep layers of our individual, layers that our laziness prevents us from visiting in the normal state"... As for his new play, it "has three acts. It takes place in two days and it stages the Province".
It was Sacha Guitry who encouraged Cocteau to write it in order to "make an appointment with the big audience, the only one who judges without prejudice and whose instinct seems to me very sure"...
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