COCTEAU JEAN (1889-1963).

Lot 55
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Estimation :
800 - 1000 EUR
COCTEAU JEAN (1889-1963).
2 autograph MANUSCRIPTS (the 2nd signed "Jean Cocteau", [1947-1948]; 2 pages in-4 very full of small handwriting, with erasures and corrections; and 2 pages in-4 in blue ballpoint pen on the back of sheets of paper headed Maison du Bailli Milly. Draft for the preface to Manon Lescaut by Abbé Prévost. [This preface was written for a reprint of the novel by Stock in 1947; it appeared in the Revue de Paris in October 19417. The last four paragraphs are missing in this manuscript]. "It is not a question of talking about an illustrious book that needs no commentary, but of shedding light on some of its angles that one tries to round off or leave in the dark [...] Abbé Prévost can only be compared to Petronius. His atmosphere is that of the Satyricon, except for the admirable warmth of love that Manon gives off like a wide-open rose in a half-open bodice. But what a procession of gamblers, cheaters, drinkers, debauched people, police raids! It is this villainous perfume of powder in the marshal's shop, of wine on the tablecloth and of an unmade bed that gives Manon the strength to live through the centuries and not to be confused with other figures whose flies and smile are not enough for me. The greatness of Manon, what saves it from being, like Les Liaisons dangereuses, the masterpiece of second-class books, what makes it a masterpiece at all, is the Parisian gust that rolls this astonishing story from a seminary parlor to the grave that Des Grieux digs, in Guyana, with his own hands. It is the love which does not mix with the scoundrel and covers the characters of this coating of the feathers of swan, coating thanks to which the swan splashes in the dirty water without getting dirty there"... Etc. Souvenir by Laurent Tailhade, [1948]. Beautiful homage of Cocteau to the one who launched his poetic fortune. [It was on April 4, 1908, on the stage of the Femina theater that the poetic glory of Jean Cocteau was born. At 18 years old, he had not yet published anything when the famous tragedian Édouard de Max (1869-1924), seduced by the young man, decided to finance and organize a reading of his poems in the presence of the Tout-Paris. It was Laurent Tailhade (1854-1919) who was in charge of presenting the budding poet to the public] Cocteau recalls the 1948 session... "Laurent Tailhade had one terrible eye that penetrated souls like a screwdriver. His round face ended in a point because of a straight grey quiff. [...] I am more than grateful to this polemicist. He symbolizes for me an era when the politics of letters was as fierce as the politics. [...] I would like all writers to resemble him and remind me of Laurent Tailhade, armed with his red pen and his cyclops eye". Two typed letters from the Académie des Poètes are attached; March 23 and May 24, 1948, inviting Cocteau to participate in the tribute to Laurent Tailhade, the second one informing him that his article arrived too late.
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